Horses and People Matching

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Chapter 6

Chapter 8

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Chapter 9

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Excerpts from the book.

Chapter 8

{Page 49}

It is at this point that I must interject something which again seems as if it should be obvious, but it has been brought to my attention once again that the obvious might not always be just that. I had a friend call me recently. The friend is an octogenarian and her doctor has told her that she should not under any circumstances get on a horse and risk falling off. The doctor cited something about the condition of her bones being brittle and less resilient to a fall, which made sense, and the advice seemed well heeded. Shortly after receiving this advice the girlfriend watched a local horse show, and her longing to be with or near such beautiful animals rushed once again to the surface. I then received a visit from my eighty year old friend who held a newspaper clipping in her hand. It read “Quarter horse mare for sale English, Western, Halter…and the phone number.” My girlfriend wanted to know what “Halter” meant. I explained that the horse was a registered, pedigreed horse, with good bloodlines, and nice enough conformation that a person could show it in a “fitting and showmanship” class or “halter” class (a class where horses are not judged while being ridden, but while standing in a halter and the criteria is either the showmanship of the exhibitor, the way that the horse is turned out or “fitted” or most likely for this advertisement, the body shape or excellent conformation of the horse itself). My friend sounded disappointed at this explanation, because apparently she had been hoping that “halter” meant something to do with the horse being able to be driven. Here is the strong point that I would like to make here. My friend is a lovely person, and obviously has a great fondness and passion for horses, but if she lacks knowledge of the basic terminology of an equestrian endeavor, that should be a big bright glaring signal that more information needs to be gathered, more lessons taken, and more apprentice work undertaken (at what ever age one happens to find oneself) before she considers purchasing a horse and the vehicle which it may pull. If she does not realize this before acting hastily, then what is foreseeable is either a pile of splintered Meadowbrook cart with a rueful driver (hopefully nursing minor injuries only… but who can say?) or yet another horse sitting idly munching hay in a backyard turnout while it’s bewildered owner wonders why it looks so easy on “Gunsmoke” when the stagecoach drives by! Please think about the analogy of flying the jet plane. You just wouldn’t jump into the cockpit and start flying to Bermuda. Don’t purchase a driving horse and a cart and start attaching the two together…..similar results for the untrained pilot could occur!

Then there is the final option for an aged horse lover, the pet horse. This horse should not be a horse that has a future riding potential. A horse does love to be stimulated by activities and interesting endeavors much like we all do (If you suspect me once again of anthropomorphizing think about how your family dog feels about going for a ride in the car, animals know what fun is, and what kind of activities they like!) A horse that is suitable for pet status is one who has “done his time” either as a lesson horse, a show horse, or even someone’s backyard ride, but is no longer up to the workload required. The program that he was once suited to may have been modified, or this horse may have changed hands (from top level event horse to school master to teenager’s second horse), but there comes a time where almost any mounted activity is a little too tiresome. It is at this point that “pet status” is a nice consideration. Of course in a perfect world the folks who reaped the benefit of all the years of hard work that the horse put in would be the place that the horse could count on to be his retirement home. For reasons of practicality this is sadly not always the case. There are many horses available almost every day that become available at no cost at all which are lovely individuals and would make fine pets. Who would know better and have more empathy and compassion for a horse who has reached their “golden years” than a horseperson who has also reached their “golden years.” This aged horse person would know about the importance of shots, shoes, worming, fresh air, companionship, dry sweet hay, fresh grain and water etc. And have the pleasure and satisfaction of knowing that they were giving a little something back to the specie who had brought them a lifetime of happiness; certainly something to consider.

Laurel and Ruby

© 2007 Twombly Publishing.
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