I don't want to write another sad post this morning. But I do want to write a frustrated post.
Like most of you I read some of the online fora for riders. COTH and Ultimate Dressage are my two usual ones and Facebook has a couple of groups I check out. I don't post much; who has time for endless discussions and frankly 90% of the posters don't have a clue and they just irritate me so why engage. I would rather deal with real poo in my barn than the various levels of self generated navel gazer poo that can be a big part of the online world.
What frustrates me is that in this internet age there is no excuse to be ignorant about horses and what they need and how they function. None. Look at what is available for us online! The AAEP site, the NRC sites, all the good video sites (I love Dressage Training Online). McPhail is on line. Deb Bennet. Gerd Heuschmann. Everyone doing research in to the biomechanics of riding and training is on line with web sites and how to videos. You can watch every practically any training conference, every horse show performance, every lecture about everything from feeding practices to training and riding techniques. Sure there is a lot of crap but there is an endless amount of useful and valuable information out there.
So why and how can some people be so dumb?
Why do people still think that tying a horse's head down makes him a better athlete? Many of you saw the story about the poor AQHA mare in San Diego that was killed by her 'trainer' a few weeks ago. The story in and of itself broke my heart but what made it worse were the apologists for the technique itself...as if 'tying a horse's head to the saddle' is ok really *as long as its done right*. Really?
Why do people still have no idea what a healthy foot, either shod or barefoot, looks like?
Why do people still start sentences with crap like 'My horse was really evading my aids today, he was such a brat! He's so <naughty, lazy, snotty>'
Why do people still ride with their hands low and wide? Info on bits, mouths, the bars, and TMJ issues is out there.
Why do people still not know how to place their saddles on their horses backs? Why do I see saddles sitting practically on the withers?
Why do people still make excuses for their lousy trainers and pay them good money to wreck their horses?
My list is long and the answers elude me. There is more than one I am sure. But in my mind there are two primary reasons that people are dumb about their horses. First is the name I chose for this blog. Some people say that God doesn't make mistakes, but if and when I get to meet Him I will point out that He did indeed mess up big time but not giving horses a sound for pain. Big oops. This simple fact leaves them open to every kind of abuse. If they could cry or whimper when sick or hurt you would see about 98% of all horse owners immediately get it and poof, many of our common training practices would disappear in an instant. The abuse gamut can run from outright whipping or spurring to just 'riding forward in to the hand' badly or being bounced around on by a stiff awkward rider to a saddle misplaced and a bit that is hitting the palate or banging the bars or when their feet hurt. Since horses don't make any pain sounds people apparently think ergo the horse feels no pain. Its the only way to explain the way people treat them.
The second reason I see as just plain ego and intellectual laziness. Horses are just their vehicle for self aggrandizement. What they do works for them for whatever reason and they feel no need to explore further. I see it every day and I will never understand it. I have heard every excuse out there and they all ring hollow. There is no reason for any horse owner today to not have a sound understanding of anatomy and physiology of the horse and how tack and the rider affect them.
Do we love our horses? We say we do. So why don't we want to understand them and make their lives better?