This post resonates so clearly with Horse Listening, that we'd like to reblog it here too. Thanks to Snarky Rider for pointing me to the article. Enjoy!
If you like what you see, go check out the website. P.S. The picture is mine!
Today’s guest post comes from our good buddy Quill!
Ten Truths of Equestrianism: Are You Really Fit For Horse Ownership?
1. Upon seeing your first horse, you will acquire a hopeless and obsessive love for them. Be prepared to loose any and all shelf space as horse books, models, and movies fill every square inch of available storage space you have left. You will need every one of these to learn about the vast horse world and the complicated process that is horse-care. Horses are not like dogs and it takes far more than tossing them some food and filling their “water bowl” up to keep them happy and healthy.
2. Finding your perfect horse is going to be a long and difficult process. It will be like trying to decide if a man is the one you want to marry and spend the rest of your life with after only one date. In some cases only by looking at pictures and videos sent to you through email. Do not be in a hurry to find your new partner. Do not fall for flashy colors or fancy breeds. A well broke, older bay Quarter Horse is going to be better for you as a first horse than a big, young, and flashy Warmblood.
3. You will no longer have any money. Between vets, boarding/property maintenance, farriers, food, equipment, medicines, ect, you will be spending a lot of money. Horses are an expensive luxury. If you plan on breeding or rescuing, those prices will shoot even higher. As my instructor once said “If you have a ton of extra money, you’re doing it wrong.”
4. When you begin riding and handling a horse, you are placing your life and trust in the hands of a thousand pound, generally untrustworthy animal. With a well-trained horse and proper handling and riding skills, the danger you face can be kept to a minimum and you can enjoy a safe riding experience. But horses are still prey animals, and when they are scared the last thing they will be thinking about is where your toes are. This is a fact you accept when you begin handling horses.
5. The horse is doing the same with you. They are placing their trust in you to care for them and not to hurt them. They are allowing you on their back – a place that would be a death sentence in the wild. Do not take advantage of that, do not betray that trust and abuse your horse, whether it be by not giving them care or causing them harm. This is how many good horses are ruined and end up on a plate in France.
6. You will never be truly clean again. There will always been that last bit of barn dirt beneath your nails. The smell of hay and sweaty horses will forever linger around you. Your barn clothes will always have horse hairs weaved into the threads.
7. You will fall off. A lot. Falling is part of riding and it’s never a good thing. With the proper riding skills and safety measures, you can minimize your chances of having a fall. However, you will fall eventually and it will not be the only time. Don’t try to keep track of how many times you have fallen, you will eventually loose count.
8. You can’t be afraid to discipline. While you should never abuse your horse by beating it for discipline, giving it a firm smack on the shoulder and either growling or giving a firm ‘No!’ when it bites at you is not going to be considered abuse. Do not punch your horse in the face, do not kick their legs, do not yank violently on their mouths.
9. You must learn to speak ‘horse’. You must learn to read their body language from their ears to their tail to understand what they are trying to tell you and what they are feeling. They can’t understand you, nor can they answer you if you ask “What’s wrong?”. When a horse pins his ears, he’s telling you he’s angry. When he keeps his head low, and acts mopy, he may be feeling ill. You have to understand all of these cues to safely work with your horse and catch when there might be a problem and a vet should be called.
10. After spending years forming an unbreakable bond with your four-legged partner, your soul will be mercilessly crushed when it come time to say that last good-bye. Do not sell your old horse or dump him at an auction so you don’t have to deal with it. Do not say ‘Do it while I’m away.’ Be by his side. He has been your friend, your teammate and your greatest teacher. No matter how painful it is for you, do not send him on his final journey alone.