Monday, September 29, 2008

Warning...a bit of a rant

I've been in a mood this weekend. I'm sure lot of women understand this. I don't know what brings it on. I'm pretty sure I don't get PMS anymore so that's not it. I checked my bio-rhythm, and it's a little on the downflow. But, when I get like this things bug the SNOT out of me!

This time what's bugging me most are "experts". I am really tired of experts looking down their noses at folks who are trying to do things as best they can who don't have all the resources available that folks in certain parts of the country do. People like me, trying to do the right thing.

I'm not talking about the idiots who think they can ride or train a horse then go buy one at a swap meet or auction, knowing very little about the animals. I'm talking about people like me, who I believe are respectful of horses and want to do the best for them without coddling them.

Read one article it says do things this way. Read another article, says "oh, you absolutely must do it this way." Watch a clinician program and that person is saying do it this way! UGH!!! I have decided to shut all of the "experts" out for a while and just use my common sense. Which, I believe is better than the average person, from what my information tells me.

From feeding my horses, to riding my horses, to training my horses, to daily care, there are "experts" saying different things everywhere I look and ask for information. I know the "experts" have been around horses longer than I have since I'm only going on 4 years being immersed in them. Opinions and expertise in something, are like noses, I swear, everyone's got one!

Let's take round penning for example. I have never liked it. I went to a particular clinician's place (ok, it was Clinton Anderson when he had his place in Ohio a few years ago). I didn't know much about training then. Watched his presentation about round penning there. Later, thinking it would help me with my young horse, ordered his DVD. I was never completely comfortable with the whole round penning technique. I do understand the philosophy and I'm sure it works. Why wouldn't it? Get the horse tired enough and he's gonna do what you want him to do by about 30 minutes later. Ok, I am exaggerating a bit here, but it's just to make a point.

I have one horse who is laid back and won't do much unless you really keep after him. Not much rattles him. He round pens beautifully. I have another younger guy, who is more sensitive. He absolutley does not even like to be in the round pen. When I bought him, he was ran into a round pen where he tried to climb out as I watched. Guess I should have gotten a clue, huh? Anyway, I have quit working with him in a round pen. I found another clinician at Equine Affaire last year who doesn't believe in round penning. He works in hand with stop and go cues. I started working with Spirit this way and it's much more pleasureable for both of us. Spirit learns much better with one on one and not trying to get him to "respect" me by running him around in circles. Sorry for anyone who believes in round penning, but I personally think it's not the thing to do for ordinary folks who want to train their horses. I guess it comes down to, know your horse!

How about riding? Yeah, I'm no expert and where I live, we don't have the good fortune to have very many riding instructors if any. Most people with horses around here are in it for the shows or for breeding. I have yet to come across riding instructors I would want to give my money to to learn to ride from them. The lessons I did originally take got me started. Since then, I have paid attention to others, listened and yes, indeed, tried to learn some things from DVD's. Shame on me for not having a "real" riding instructor! I do understand that riding wrong can ruin your relationship with your horse. I'm careful not to do that. As a matter of fact, I'm working with sidepulls and bitless bridles because I don't like using bits. Personal choice and it works for me.

Feed, care and the deworming controversy! Oh my goodness! A conscientious horse owner could go crazy over these topics! I am a conscientious owner of everything I have on my property! My dogs, my cat, my house, my cars and ESPECIALLY my horses! I finally settled down to my way of handling these things. My horses are fine. They are healthy.

These topics get to me because I read an article from an "expert", and she is indeed an expert who writes books about horse ownership I have bought and I respect. I get her newsletter. But, I nearly dumped myself out of my computer chair when I read her suggestion for feeding schedules. Now, granted, she wasn't saying to do it her way, she was just saying it's the way she does it, which is why I respect her advice. But, once again, I started thinking to myself "am I doing right by my guys?" I hate when I do that. Then I start having a conversation with myself about how my guys are doing ok the way I do things so don't get too upset. Oh, and the deworming. I'm not EVEN going to get into that. I do it my way. I think the original schedule I had was too extreme so I've cut my deworming schedule back and rotate the dewormers suggested by my equine vet. I have quit listening and reading about deworming.

Like I said in the beginning, I've been in a mood this weekend. I read a couple of blogs that sort of ticked me off, but then, that's what free speech and blogging are all about. Makes you learn not to be too sensitive I suppose. I realize there are idiots out there buying horses who shouldn't even be within ten feet of a horse. I feel bad for those horses. I read forums where people are asking about things and I think "Oh, MY Goodness, that poor horse!" Yeah, I rarely feel bad for the person because in my opinion they should KNOW better. I can't feel sorry for someone who buys a horse then gets upset because the horse has issues and then they can't handle them. That's just wrong. But, I also can't stand it when I know someone is belittling people like me, or that's how I perceive it, because I don't have enough experience in their so called expert definition.

We learn as we live! The old cowboys and folks who owned/worked horses, back in the day of horse and buggies, learned by doing. There's nothing wrong with that. I mean seriously, when I start hearing people get all excited because they can't get a left lead or a right lead and they're wanting to trail ride, I have to shake my head. I don't ever plan on being an expert at horses because it must be obvious, I'm doing everything wrong!

I guess I took some of my weekend reading a little too seriously, huh?

Well, today I'm going out, working with my green 6 yo by saddling and introducing him to his new sidepull. Yeah, that's right, he's basically GREEN and he's now 6 years old!


Laura Crum said...

I share your frustration with all the self-proclaimed experts and would second your decision to follow your own path. I've had the same learning. Good wishes.

LJS82 said...

Thank you Laura. I was definitely in a mood that day. Not all experts are bad and I suppose it's really up to the "consumer" of the information to decide what's right for them at that moment in time.