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Has your horse ever changed your mind about something important?

Are your beliefs or the horse's needs winning in everyday life? Photo: Canva Pro

The horse world is filled with strong opinions, ambitions, and dreams. This makes it a place where debates can easily arise. We are many and we are different. There are different ways of keeping horses and we don’t always agree. But where does the horse fit into all of this - is it our beliefs and dreams that set the agenda or the needs of the horse?

You might also like to read: Don’t forget your own body! - Physical Therapy

There are many disciplines to choose from

There are so many different disciplines in the equestrian world. Show jumping, dressage, western, academic, trot races, gallop races, endurance, eventing, or mounted games. You name it.

What makes an individual horse owner choose a particular discipline? A dream of soaring over jumps, performing technically difficult exercises, focusing on small details, or riding really fast? In some disciplines, there is money at stake, while others are purely for the sport and enjoyment.

Is it about what the horse finds fun or has a talent for because of its breed? Or is it more about our dreams and ambitions?

How to choose a discipline? Photo: Canva Pro

Different equipment for every purpose

The horse world is filled with equipment. Equipment specially tailored to what we want to do with the horse. Equipment that makes the horse shine at competitions and equipment that protects the horse. What we choose for our horse is our choice and not the horse's. It doesn't have a choice, but we do. Therefore, we must consider well and be informed about what we choose for our horse.

Are our beliefs running the show?

As horse owners, we are responsible for our horses' lives and their well-being. We work hard to offer our horses the best, so they can have a wonderful life with plenty of benefits. The question is, what are we choosing based on when we make decisions for our horses?

Do you reflect on your choices on behalf of your horse?

A horse owner once asked me why I didn't put boots on my horse when I was riding. I responded to her question with a counter-question: Why did she put boots on her horse?

I want a natural horse life as much as possible without rugs and shoes, which probably also explains why I don't put boots on my horse.

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Regarding shoes, the problem a few years ago was that my barefoot horse walked stiffly and cautiously when I led her to the riding arena, from the paddock, or when we rode in the forest. I tried hoof boots, as I didn't want to put shoes on her. Sure, it helped a bit to use hoof boots on her, but only when she had them on. When she took them off, she walked stiffly and cautiously again.

After several internal debates, I decided to try shoes on the front hooves and it worked. Her movement was significantly better and she was more relaxed.

At first, I was against horse shoes for my mare, but her reaction convinced me.

It's not always us who decides what's best. Photo: Archive

I didn't want to, but I had to

For most of my life with horses, I have been against using rugs. I believe they interfere with a horse's natural ability to grow its winter coat. Additionally, rugs can be inconvenient and restrictive. While many of these concerns might be valid, my perspective changed after my horse experienced some issues with her underbelly. The vet recommended that I use a blanket to prevent her from getting too cold, particularly over her loins. So, I found a rug that fit her well and that I felt comfortable using.

Once I put the rug on her, I understood its benefits. My horse doesn't grow a thick winter coat and often shivers in the rain and snow. The rug provided her with the warmth she needed.

This experience has led me to reconsider my stance on rugs. My horse's needs have prompted me to question the beliefs I held, even though I'm not entirely sure where those beliefs originated or why I adhered to them.

You might also like to read: A Competent Rider Must Have Ample Self-Confidence to Lead the Horse

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