I called my first blog entry "Yesterday", not because I wanted to talk about something that happened yesterday, but because that's when I should have started this blog in the first place: long time ago aka yesterday.
This blog is about horses and people, literally. I'm not talking about a few specific people and their horses; what I mean is horses, as in the animal species, and people, as in the human race. Of course, I have to admit that this blog is also a bit about me personally (I am writing it, after all!) and my quest to find a way to be with horses.
Find a way to be with horses? What's there to find, you may ask; all you have to do is get a halter and put it on the horse's head, or grab a saddle and slap it on its back... it's not rocket science, right? Well, that's exactly what I used to think. I rode, trained, worked, competed with horses for over 30 years; I did it all from teaching children in a riding school up to competing internationally. I was there, right in the middle of it, doing my thing, bringing those horses and students along, setting goals and achieving them - with flying colors even. So what happened?
It's hard for me to pinpoint what started the shift, but somewhere in all that horse training and working and exercising and schooling, there suddenly was this little seed of an idea, so little that I really didn't even know it was there. Maybe it wasn't even a thought, it was more like an emotion, a tiny morsel of guilt perhaps, or doubt. Is this really the way I'm supposed to be doing all this horse stuff? Is this really what I want? Am I happy? Are these horses happy?
Maybe it was the fact that I had always been good with "difficult" cases and this encouraged me to think outside the box; maybe it was the fact that I was considered a "natural" when it came to riding and horses; or maybe it was a certain horse called Socks who finally was able to get through to me (after others had tried, unsuccessfully) Whatever it was, a shift started happening, and slowly, at snail pace, my thinking started to change - until... what had started as a little snowflake-sized thought up on top the hill had become this unstoppable snowball of ideas rolling down the side of the mountain. At that point, there was no turning back, as snowballs don't exactly roll uphill...
This blog is an attempt to make sense of the thoughts that are coming to me on a daily basis now. Should horses not have shoes? Should we stop using bits in horses' mouths? Does riding long periods of time harm horses? Do we have the right to claim superiority over any animal species? What is horse abuse? What kind of a relationship do I want to have with a horse? How can I be with a horse without doing what everyone else is doing i.e using force? How do I know what horses are thinking? etc etc
If you are a horse person and reading this, you know how loaded all those questions are. You may even be able to imagine how defensive any horse owner will get if confronted with such issues. We all want the best for our horse, right? Right???
This is not an attempt to rattle any cages although some cages will probably get rattled along the way. But I don't see that as a bad thing; change is always painful, at least in the beginning.
And I always try to believe people are doing what is best to their knowledge. Sometimes they just don't know enough, sometimes they don't even want to know. It's often easier that way.
I believe we are all on the same road, we are just all at different locations. Some people never make it very far, barely out the yard, some travel for miles, some go around the world. I hope to be one of the latter ones. If you feel the same, why not come along?