Look Within Yourself to Discover The Horses Heart
by Elaine Polny
(Palgrave, Ontario, Canada)
New e-book coming soon
I strive to achieve the ultimate bond with horses through honesty, trust, respect and love. It was when I truly placed the well being of the animal before my own personal goals that incredible achievements were made.
Yet still I find so many false myths surrounding the horse world that I can’t but wonder, "What's taking us so long to realize our human ego is still standing in our way?" Why are the discoveries like the proven harm that bits are doing to a horse's mouth and natural horse keeping methods not reaching the masses? Let alone better training techniques like positive reinforcement (which in itself has been around for over 30 years!) not being embraced or at the very least tried?"
In this moment if you have access to the internet, you have access to the best information in the world! People need to use it like a library and it's faster and easier than ever. Plus no library card is needed! :0)
I feel much of this stems from an individual's lack of awareness. The kind of thoughts that demonstrate, "You don't know what you don't know." I get that part. But I just don't understand why in today’s world we still believe that horses "need an occupation", or they are "athletes" or that just because you only want one horse then depriving that horse of a companion of its own species is justified.
I recently viewed a documentary created by the National Geographic which of course I first thought, "Oh, great, this will contain the latest best information!" I was wrong. People were still discussing, claiming and ultimately believing that they were providing the best of care which for them meant they would clean the stalls more than once a day. Provided shoes on their horse's hooves for protection and ensured the horses "had a job to do". Gosh, we're truly kidding ourselves! Or do we just not know what we don’t know yet? There was finally a great statement made by a vet in the documentary who said, horses that live a natural lifestyle outside have 80% less chance of becoming ill! Plus they did touch upon the equine experiential learning that is coming to the forefront too, but that was only the last 10 minutes!
Oh but wait, then there are those who believe that horses should be confined to stalls for days on end, bathed regularly and kept clean at all times and OH my goodness if they should get a scratch or bite from another horse! Shoved into walkers to get them fit for the race track where they must run as if a predator is about to take their life or those people who compete with horses in all kinds of ridiculous made up human events and claim their horses "love" it!
Can you tell I am having a moment here?!
I"ve heard it all, and then some. For every claim a person has to justify what they are doing with horses we can easily trace back the underlying human ego at play. For example:
"Why do we race horses?" Answer: For the accumulation of money and human pride.
"Why do we compete with horses?" Answer: For the accumulation of money and human pride!
"Why do we breed most horses?" Answer: For the……well you get the picture!
What if we were to pose these questions to a horse? What would the answers look like?
"Hey, you horses over there, why would you run a race?" Answer: We wouldn’t. We would only run that fast if we felt our lives were being threatened.
"Hey, why would you compete with other horses?" The only competition we seek from each other is to create social order, to ensure our species survival and in play.
"Hey,…. Why would you breed?" Well duh, to continue propagation of our species, it's in all beings to want to procreate. And we don't use artificial insemination do achieve it either. It is determined amongst ourselves who we breed with and just like humans we like a little courtship first!
Hmmm, seems like we have two very different agendas!
Okay what about those who don't know what they don't know about other things like:
"I need to use a bit to control my horse and feel safe." Answer: Since we now know (proven that is) that bits inflict several layers of pain and damage to a horse's mouth, the person is suggesting that they "are" and "can" control the horse using pain rather than understanding that inflicting pain is the reason they probably can"t control the horse to begin with. Personally I feel safer knowing that I have control built on trust not painful gadgets.
"I need to put shoes on my horse hooves otherwise they crack and can’t handle the ground I take him on." Answer: First, why would this person take him on ground he is unable to handle? If his hooves are not conditioned to the environment outside of his home then there are these wonderful things called hoof boots available that can alleviate the transition. No nails required which have proven to be damaging to a horse's hooves as well as the steel shoes that contract the hoof wall. Horses in a natural state do not seek a Ferrier to put shoes on their hooves. So the real question is, "For whom are we putting the shoes on for, in other words, what is the underlying reason?"
Okay, I’m done my little rant (for the moment! ;))
I recognize that the above can seem judgmental and suggest that my ego thinks it's right too. Problem is, we all have this ego but the question is: "Do we know when it's taking over through unawareness?" I have looked deep within myself to ask the tough questions regarding our horses and how we view them, only to discover that allowing the horse to return to their true natural state (as best we can provide) is the only way that feels right for my well being to exist in harmony with them.
If you find the inspiration that I am hoping to supply here, please join me, if it you can't or don't want to, no problem, please go to the library (if you’re lucky enough to still find one!).
I know there are many of us out there who have discovered and moved past the old ways, I just want to hear from more of you! Please use this website to share with the world the better ways of co-existing with our friend, the horse.
Just having a moment,