Sunday, July 27, 2008
Trails, Horses, and Contradictions
This morning very early we trailered out to rendezvous at a favorite nearby ski-trail system which we enjoy. I am so happy: Johnny self-loads!! I learned a new technique for this and he now marches on all by his lonesome without me having to lead him and clamber out the escape door praying I don't get my foot stepped on in the process.
I'll describe the technique in a later post and try to include video, but for now: I am developing the theory of Horse Contradictions. I will not win a Nobel prize for this but bear with me.
Theory of Horse Contradictions: for every strong opinion that X will kill your horse immediately, there is an equally passionate opinion that unless you give/do to your horse X you are practically an abuser. For every opinion that X is good and perfectly safe, there is an equally passionate opinion that X is almost certain to kill both you and your horse, if not the entire equine population of your state. For every opinion that if you train your horse with X technique you are doing him a favor, there's an equally passionate opinion that you will quickly drive your horse insane with X training.
I have developed this theory out of hard struggles with equine cognitive dissonance. I now listen to everything with an open mind, but I no longer believe everything I hear about horse training and horse care, even if the person saying it has huge credibility and is obviously a horse dude/dudette of great experience. I just listen and ponder.
Example: A horseperson who has my complete and total respect for his long years of retraining problem horses (who were headed for the meat auction) to be great trail partners, really chided me for riding in tennis shoes last week.
There was a reason! I had a post-surgical wrap on my foot and no safer riding shoes would fit over it; the tennies would unlace to a great degree and voila I could ride.
However! I got the lecture and he was so sincerely worried that I think I ruined the ride for him. He says tennis shoes are terrible if you get a fall/drag situation; they adhere to the stirrup and also don't come off your foot.
So who forgot his boots and had to ride in what foot gear this morning??!!
In fairness I have to say: he took out the laces and made sure he could step out of the tennies easily. So everybody check your riding shoes, or not! Long live the contradictory horse/human relationship.