A Content Horse

9. Withdraw regular "creature" comforts: 

Don't provide shelter and blanketing; don't worry if he gets cold or shivers or overheats - for horses should be out in all elements as they are "creatures of the wild". Ignore the effects of the elements. Above all, pay no attention to tight backs and any signs of physical discomfort.

8. Don't provide nutritional feed and definitely not at regular time intervals.

Worry not about tight flanks, the signs of hunger (pacing, anxiety, pawing) or the lone horse that is regularly kicked off the hay in the field. Ignore any signs of ulcers/malnutrition/lack of worming. Feed only when you have the time - the horses won't die without hay over the course of several hours! Loss of weight and condition means nothing with regards to the riding capacity of the horse.

7. Ignore tack and physical discomforts.

Any saddle is fine - get the cheapest one you can find, especially those "all in one" kits that are on sale for a price that even you can't believe! Use any girth/cinch you can find - if there is a girth gall, just slap on some ointment. Don't worry too much about the length and angles of the hooves - long, low toes might cause your horse to trip a little, but just kick the horse on when that happens.

6. Avoid a regular exercise routine

Life is busy - ride only when you have nothing better to do. Ride at different times on the days you do ride and certainly don't  concern yourself with developing a training routine for your warm-up and cool-down.

5. Ride the same way over and over again...

... especially if you are running into problems. Repeat your aids and make them stronger until at some point, the horse finally gives in. It's too much trouble to try something new or improve your own riding skills. If you never "get through" to the horse, or if he becomes too dangerous to ride, sell him. Buy another one with a higher tolerance for your riding techniques.

4. Don't bother taking riding lessons.

Once you know how to stay on and steer and stop, the sky is the limit! Believe in the old adage, "What you don't know won't hurt you." Riding lessons are expensive and only serve to confuse and irritate.

3. Don't use half-halts.

Ignore your horse's complaints about being off-balance. Some horses tolerate being on the forehand better than others; buy those and ride them until they go lame. If the horse is repeatedly lame, sell him off and buy another.

2. Be inconsistent with your aids.

Keep the horse guessing at all times. Instead of learning to work with the horse, make him be the only active partner. Keep changing things up so that he doesn't know when he is right or wrong, and avoid putting in the hard work it takes to develop a kind hand and an informed seat.

1. Don't listen to your horse.

Do your best to ignore your horse's body language, especially if the "feedback" is negative. Also avoid the input of other people who might be concerned for your horse's welfare.

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Speaking "Horse" (a.k.a. "Pushing the Envelope")

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9 Comments

  1. Oh, how often have I seen this attitude in its many combinations. Whether it is the equipment, the coach, the horse…let’s change everything but ourselves. We live in a throw away world where everything must be instantaneous.

  2. Very funny. The #5 reminds me of the slightly less cowardly saying, ‘If you keep on doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep on getting what you’ve always got.’ – Kyra Kurkland.

  3. Bravo! Especially love #9 and #8! Especially with the rash of “our horses have to be wild creatures”. If we left our dogs out to be wet and cold and shivering we would have our doggies taken away from us, but by all means lets do it to a horse because its “natural”. I especially love the sudden rash of “lets not shave our horse’s whiskers because its connected to the brain and its abusive to shave them”. I would like to hear ONE incidence where shaving the whiskers directly caused harm to the horse (barring cutting them with the clippers) and yet those same people will leave their horses shivering in the cold and rain, feed them crap feeds and put mean bits and ill fitting saddles on their horse, let alone shoes and bad farrier work. Has common sense gone right out the window??

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