While I was in Tucson I had the chance to go by a couple of barns. This is where people keep their horses cause they don’t have a place of their own. Both of them were well kept. One of my clients took me around to meet some folks. While we were at the first barn I got the chance to talk to a couple of ladies that were there caring for their horses. We were talking about what horses need. One of the ladies said that for her and her horse it was a food-based relationship. Meaning that she used food to get her horse to do what she wanted the horse to do it, and even then, she said, if her horse did not want to do it, it wasn’t going to happen.
I started to explain to her my experience with horses and was talking about what horses really need. Two things, food and comfort. She pointed back at the stall and pen that her horse lived and where she spent around $400 a month to board her horse and said, “I provide my horse with comfort.”
This illustrates what I have been saying for a long time. A human’s idea of comfort and a horse’s idea of comfort are two completely different things. The horse tries to tell us what it needs but we as humans don’t listen very good. Let me give you an example. When you give your horse a bath or hose him off after a long day in the saddle, if you turn him out, what does he do? That’s right, he goes out in his pen and finds a place to lay down and roll in the dirt. Why? Because that’s what the horse needs to be comfortable. The dust and dirt give him a protective layer against things that may want to bite him, like fly and the like. He’s trying to tell us that he really doesn’t need a bath to be comfortable. But we think he does and so we do it. It does nothing for the horse but makes US fell good. Makes us feel like we are good owners, but the truth is the horse could care less. I’m not saying here to never give your horse a bath or hose him off after a long day in the saddle. I do it too. But understand that it’s not his idea, it’s not the kind of comfort he wants, or more importantly needs.
So how are we, as horse owners, to know what our horses need when it comes to comfort?
Let’s talk about that tomorrow.
Will try and keep you updated with info on what the heck I'm doing with horses and music.