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COLUMN: PARA LOS CABALLOS

By Steve Komadina
Truth versus Opinion with Horses
I am impressed daily that all that I say and hear is opinion. That is true in medicine and religion and politics and nutrition. We are surrounded by opinion and then find our own “truth.” That brings us to horses, horse ownership and feeding, training, tacking and all aspects of animal husbandry. The world of horses is just as saturated with opinion as any other aspect of your life.

Each horse person listens and reads and observes and tries until they find which opinion makes sense and works in their hands to some level of success. Why doesn’t a horse come with an owner’s manual, with all the magic secrets to success in dealing with this big animal? But they do not. To complicate things further, we were never taught “Horse” as a second language. If lucky, we took horseback riding lessons, but that was perhaps the wrong place to start in this horse person relationship. Could riding be the reward you get for doing all the pre-riding preparation for the horse as well as for you? For most of us, riding came first and then we worked our way back to the preparation and the communication with the horse that prepares it for our ride.

There are serious horse people and casual horse people. Corrales is filled with lots of the serious people. To them, the relationship with this living breathing hunk of muscle and bone and brain is close to a spiritual experience. True love grows and is nurtured through joint respect and sharing of good human horse interactions. The majority of these people make no money as a result of their horse involvement. It truly is a labor of love financed somehow by other means.

Like religion and politics, horse people become passionate and protective of their opinions in regards to their horse and relationship. Hence it is very difficult to give advice to a horse person. They become very defensive and feel you are being judgmental with any questions or suggestions made toward them and their steed. We must also recognize the many challenges of trying to teach an adult vs a child. As adults, the fear of being wrong or judged is very intimidating. Many of us just want to go hide and “work” on our problem out of public view. Hence the popularity of auditing clinics or private horse lessons vs group lessons.

Now, everything I have written is my opinion and may be wrong. It is based on my observations of horsemen over the years in a variety of settings… trail rides, lessons, seminars, horse shows, etc. My plea today is for all us Corrales horse people to not be judgmental. Let us be kind in our comments and to be truly a friend when interacting with other horse people. Likewise, don’t wear your feelings on your shoulder, and be observant and teachable always to be a better person for your horse. I have so much more opinion to share but I have a “Horse” language lesson in ten minutes and need to get out to the pasture. See you on the trail.

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