Amateur v Professional
The discussion on this thread has drifted from “space” to issues of “control“. Interesting. For some reason I am drawn to the difference between the Professional who hopes to earn
from handling horses and the Amateur who pays
to play with horses. This Forum I see particularly as one where the Amateur’s predominate and it is only rarely do I sense that a Professional is submitting the post. After all, there is no payment for contributing to the Forum.
Myself I am definitely an Amateur. I write from my own experiences of playing with horses for 34 years. Sometimes I myself have cause to pay for advice. Other times I call an old friend, a lifelong stunt man, for old school professional advice. I notice when he reverts to being a Professional the nature of his advice changes. He then tells how to force the horse to obey and he does not bother to seek out why it is disobeying. He usually knows the cure for the symptom; he doesn’t need to worry about the cause. He shows impatience when he realizes that I know his answer before he repeats it to me loud and clear. Once, with compassion, I watched this big tough bruiser of a man working with his own life long favourite horse, which was famous in the British film industry. With that horse, he was just so gentle. When eventually the horse died of a heart attack whilst out on a hack, my friend was as close to crying as I have ever seen him. Perhaps it was the first time in his life that he, a professional horseman to his finger tips, felt an amateur rider’s empathy for a horse, this time his famous horse. The horse’s ashes were uniquely buried in an urn under a tree in the paddock in which the horse once lived, alongside the ashes of his mother and his best friend.
On this Forum, the thread with the highest number of viewings over my time of contributing, is one which charts the death of a horse suffering from laminitis. The young female owner has been given the diagnosis and inevitably the horse is put to sleep. Visitors read the evolving story with tears in their eyes.
What I am trying to say, in as few a words as possible, is that the horse Professionals, be they dealer,
breeder, trainer, vet or even top class sportsmen view the horse world from a particular perspective. The horse is the tool of their trade. To the amateur owner, the horse is more than just a large load carrying quadruped, it is very often a companion in life. In some cases the horse is the
focal point of a lifestyle. Too often from a posting, I envisage a lonely young woman facing a very definite problem with her horse. She seeks advice over the internet from fellow amateur owners who may or may not have experienced a similar problem. She is reaching out for help. The advice from a Professional would be no doubt cost effective but the solution suggested might come over either as being too brutal or too matter of fact. On the other hand, an Amateur sometimes decides to write a response in the hope that a few words of wisdom and encouragement will help see that fellow amateur through. It comes as a surprise to realize that one can hold hands with like minded folks over the Internet with carefully chosen words.