The role that a horse plays in a owner's life is a subject fit for a degree in psychology. Undoubtedly often the horse becomes a substitute for a lack of something in a human's life. The horse's role in some human's life is often to be the recipient of affection. For others a horse is a jumping machine.
Some of us older folks keep our horses in livery yards and there we watch often with increasing horror the antics of a new young owner playing with 500 kilos of muscle and blood. But what to do, we know from previous experience that if we put our nose in a young person's business we definitely risk a stern rebuff - if not from the young rider then perhaps from the mother or father who mostly knows nothing about horses. It is a very common problem.
Except in lethal circumstances, generally speaking we close our eyes, keep our own counsel and look the other way.
Personally I have reached the stage where I only interfere when the horse is at risk. The youngsters have to learn from experience. The owner of the yard also kept her distance. She was herself a very experienced horse woman who had ridden horses since a very young child. Tenants were left to find their own way.
At times there was indeed a need to rush in and grab the horse but surprisingly not that often. But three horses died in three years, they paid the price of ignorance.
Lunging a horse in a confined arena is an acquired knack. At one end of the lead rope is a powerful four legged animal and at the other end of a long rein is a mere human who is being spun round and round getting dizzy and usually calling out words, which the horse rarely understands. The human is wealding a whip in one hand and holding the rein, often wrapped around the wrist, in the other. Yes it is dangerous situation but rarely do I hear of someone being carted off to hospital.
Should one interfere? Well just how good are your communication skills? Are you prepared to be snubbed?
Will you do any good?
I suppose the answer for me lies in whether I care enough. If I care about both horse and rider then I stop, I think, I work out my opening line and then I jump in. If I am told to mind my own business, then I back off. Mostly I find I am listened to and then they go on much as before, but at least I tried.
Today whilst picking up dung, I was followed around the field by a 6yo 16h2 warmblood gelding who was chewing at the collar of my jacket. As I stood up the horse's nose was in my pocket seeking out the treats which are often there. When I turned round to say 'Oi' he stood his ground, imperiously looking down at mere me whilst sniffing at my beard. Some horsey folks would have been horrified. But at the time I was the object of a beautiful horse's interest and affection. I was so privileged. There was no way I would have chastised that animal for invading my space. Eventually I moved off out of his domain and the horse wandered off. I worry for that horse in the future when someone comes and buys him. His love of humans makes him vulnerable.
What's my conclusion about poking one's nose in? Well if you jump in, you might be rebuffed, if you ignore the situation then an accident might occur.
How much do you care? Or why not toss a coin?
Last edited by xxBarry Godden; 01-06-2012 at 03:35 PM.