27 July 2009

A little horse knowledge is a dangerous thing!

I thought I'd google 'horse behaviour' and have a look at whats 'in' and whats 'out' these days.

It is frightening the number of web sites, forums and books out there that do more harm than good. Many of them have a professional look about them that would, I imagine, inspire the reader to believe 'these people know what they are talking about'. I even found a few who had fancy letters after their name or used the prefix Dr, all of which implied learning, knowledge, understanding, experience and expertise in all things equine.

Out of curiosity I chose 6 'professionals' who used the prefix Dr. To be fair I chose three who's opinions I vaguely or strongly agreed with and the other three who's opinions I thought were from another planet.

After more hours than I care to admit researching I managed to track down the backgrounds of two of them (fortunately one of each opinion). Would you believe that one had a Doctorate in Philosophy and the other in Greek Mythology, nothing at all to do with horses and to top it all both awarded by a third world university. Agreed, they may have many years experience dealing with horses but then so do the vast majority of my clients.

Many of these so called professionals state things as fact when in reality we know so little about horses. We don't even know what colours a horse can see let alone their thought process and ability to reason.

I think the best advice I could give you is to question everything you read or are told about horses and to remember that horses are individuals (what works for one might not work for another). Whenever I read or hear something new to do with horses I try to do as much research as I can and to study both sides of the argument, only when I feel I fully understand might I try their suggestion.

If it 'feels' wrong then it probably is, if it 'feels' right then try it in stages. To me using a crop to get a horse to move forward 'feels' wrong, so I never use a crop. If you would never use a crop on a child to get a result why use one on a horse?

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