Give You and Your Horse Time
By Carole Herder
Shoeing is like certain forms of horsemanship – a short term fix. Training through fear and dominance is quick and to the point but will only teach relatively simple tasks. To gain a co-operative, willing and enthusiastic partner in your horse, you need time and patience. Placing metal shoes on their feet will allow for immediate riding on stony or hard terrain but the long term affects are incredibly detrimental, to the overall horse’s health and performance.
The human race is acquiring less and less patience. Everything has to be done faster and more efficiently. Email, mobile phones, self-defrosting freezers, microwaves, speedier cars and trains and planes. We sigh frustratingly when a web page takes more than five seconds to open. We tap our feet distractingly while queuing in a line. We become irate when put on hold on the phone. We are frequently smothered in irritation because things aren’t being done quickly enough or in the way we want them. Society has pushed us along into a frenzy of high-speed technology where our brains and bodies overtake our hearts and our souls.
To ensure everything is at our convenience (like 24-hour supermarkets and ATMs), we also stable horses and put shoes on them and rug them and feed them from buckets or hay nets. This is so we can simply grab them by the halter, haul them out, hop on up and away we go for our usually rushed ride out in order to get back and muck out and hurry off to the next task at hand. How did we get like this? Why MUST our busy lives affect all others around us, frequently not even considering the sensitive natures of the beautiful animals we ride? Often we won’t see the long-term effects all of this has on them.
A trainer recently told a friend of mine, when he handed over her newly backed horse, “Take your time, you have his whole life to get to know each other and do things together”. These words really struck with my friend and as fate would have it, she had no choice but to take her time, as herself and the horse were plagued by injuries for over a year. But she was given the incredible opportunity to build up their relationship, as she often worked on the ground with him and frequently repeated their lessons together as they went back to square one after a rest period. When they go out and about now, many people comment on the super partnership they have together and how far they have come; people don’t comment on how long it took them.
So give yourself and your horse the time that it takes. In becoming barefoot, in your horsemanship, in your riding, in building a better environment for him – you will both be better beings because of it.