Ok so I have been mentioning a contest, I have finally got around to posting it. It's 1am lol!
So I have been thinking about this for a long time. If I could change one thing about the horse world what would I change?
I really did not have to think hard about this one.
Being a student of equine science in University I have learnt a great deal about the anatomy, nutrition, genetics, behavioral, growth and many other topics on the horse. It's brought me a great insight on things that us horse people do that may seem kind, but are actually harmful to the horse. Not necessarily physically harmful but denying the horses right to be a horse. See the 5 freedoms. We often stall a horse for periods of time and sometimes its necessary. Most of the time it's a convenience for us. We like to know our horses are safe and not getting nicked up, keeping clean or escaping in the night.
It's proven that horses in training, regardless of age exhibit less behavioral problems when they are out 24/7 with other horses than when they are stalled, even for a few hours. I would believe it, that is why horses I train are out 24/7 when they are with me. I like a horse to be a horse. They are gonna get kicked and cut and scraped but thats ok.
My instructor said to me the other day "Horses have evolved to heal, if only allowed natural circumstances. One year of turn-out cures most lamenesses fully and inexpensively. Two years cures anything, they say. This most successful of all treatments is called "giving the horse the gate" Pasture rest cures horses. Stall rest is often counterproductive, not to mention beahviourally inappropriate." -Dr.Sid Gustafson. Took the words right out of the horses mouth.
Basically what I am getting at is there has been a lot of big changes in horsemanship, especially in the last 5-10 years. People are reading up and studying equine behaviour instead of just "getting on them and riding the bucks out". People let their horses be horses. They strive to understand them, give them as natural care as possible. It's wonderful. My horses are outside 24/7. People comment all the time on how unflappable and mostly calm they are on trails or at events. I do not put so much on my training abilities so much as letting them be horses and getting lots of the 5 freedoms. I am pointing out specifically #3 in this case. This is what I would change.
"Freedom from pain, injury and disease- By rapid diagnosis, prevention or treatment. "
My horses are bitless as you might have noticed because the URL and name of my blog says so. Why did I go bitless? Well although my horses were wonderfully responsive to bits and never had problems going around in a flexible rubber Mullen mouth snaffle, possibly one of the "kindest" bit's, I wanted something more for them. I wanted to upgrade my equitation and my horses training and prove to myself and them that pain did not have to be part of our relationship.
I went bitless. At first it was a little bumpy. I got criticized constantly, you need a bit in that horses mouth, he is gonna run away with you, wait until you gallop, something spooks your horse she is gonna be unstoppable, your crazy, the horse only listens because hes a good horse, he only listens because you had him since a baby, it's never gonna work, bit, bit, bit, bit, bigger bit, more bit, BITS! I hated them at that point. Why should I stick a piece of non flexible steel in a sensitive part of my horses body that has more nerve endings and soft, malleable (not to mention damageable) tissue than any other part of his or her body? I shouldn't. My professors backed my research on bits and the harmful effects of them 100%. They were surprised themselves and even took the leap to bitless.
Of course this is my dream. I've trained more quiet horses without the bit than with. Some were green as green, others old timers with some supposedly "ingrained" bad and dangerous habits that were fixed within the first dozen rides being bitless. Others were like my poor old mare Naigen that had a medical problem that was not recognized until a bit was placed in her mouth. I try not to imagine the pain she was in just trying to breathe and hold a bit at the same time.
So what would I change about the horse world. Just one thing. Well I would make it so bits were not allowed. Make it so those so stuck on the bit had to do training to achieve the control they have with pain and a bit. I hope in my lifetime bits will become a thing of the past. After all bits were created and refined when Ghengas Kan was a ruler and the world was believed to be flat.
Today it's round and today I am bitless. My horses are happy. I do not need a bit to control any horse I ride or train. Today is my day because if I can make a difference in just one horses relationship with humans without a bit to do it. I have climbed another mountain. Maybe one day I'll be on the Mt.Everest of bitless. I can only hope some bitless horse is there to guide me along the way.
So that is what I would change.
This contest I want to know what you would change, if you could change just one thing about the horse world.
Maybe you would make it illegal to run a stable without taking a training course.
No slaughter all together.
No harmful things such as soaring
If you don't have a horse or are not connected to the horse population what would you change about the world in general.
Please post here, or if your post is too long to put as a comment post it on your blog and link me.
Oh, btw you don't have to have a blog to participate in this one. E-mail is fine.
Leave me a way to contact you in your comment. I'll be using a random generator to pick the winner.
Of course a contest would not be complete without prizes:
A nylon nurtural bridle(minus reins), your choice of size in either black or brown (see site link below for pictures of brown nylon)
(Images property of nurtural horse)
Another prize is a hand made dream catcher, made by me. What will I be making this dream catcher of? Well out of an old horse shoe of course! They are wonderful. I've been putting dream catchers in the fair for 15 years now and not even once has mine had a second place ribbon. This one pictured was a christmas present for a friend of her passed pony. I found his mane hair on the paddock fence. She bawled when I gave it to her. I am glad I could preserve her lovely companion. I have a lot of Canadian goose feathers I have painted various subjects on. They will be part of it and if you have a horse and want your horses hair attached to it like in the one pictured (but not the one you are getting, sorry D: ) I can definately do that if you can send me the hair.
Oh someone in my pay it forward has one of these babies going in the mail ASAP. Look for it ;)
Who doesn't like free stuff?
So leave a comment, blog about it, tell some friends, get back to me. What would you change about the horse world, or just the world? Feel free to open discussion, this contest officially ends the 29th of July at 12 midnight, Eastern time.