Starting from scratch???! How so?
Well, even though I had horses from the time I was 5 to when I left home to go to university at 17, I had very little formal training. I took less than a year of lessons with a local western pleasure coach. My parents figured I knew enough so that was it. I was on my own after that. No one around me (especially my parents) knew anything about horses. I read horse magazines and books since this is pre-Internet. But there was no one for me to ask questions or help me work through problems with my horse.
Over 20 years later, my daughter got into riding so I started helping her groom and tack up her horses (she was only 6 when she started). We leased a pony for a bit, and finally bought a horse this last fall. I quickly found out that so much has changed as far as horsemanship goes that I might as well have never been around horses at all. Well, that's not quite true, of course I felt comfortable with them and would not hesitate to hop on one whenever I had the chance. Grooming is one thing that really hasn't changed. Here's what has changed:
- back when I had a horse in the 80s, everyone shod their horses. Now many are barefoot and so is my horse.
- we fed sweet feed. That's now considered a no-no by most horse people (though not all).
- NATURAL HORSEMANSHIP! The closest I got to that as a teen was laying on my horse's back in the dark, watching the stars as he grazed. The horse people I knew back then still thought of training in terms of "breaking" a horse.
- I was told not to let my horse spend too much time in his pasture because he would be too "wild" for me to handle. I was not to let him out for more than 2 hours at a time. Now many horses live outside 24/7.
- so many advances in horse medicine... which is why, thankfully, horses live much longer now than they did 20 years ago.
Finally, I was taught to ride Western and am now riding English. I am totally converted. When I was young, I found it such a hassle to lug around my heavy Western saddle that I often just rode bareback. I find English is more like riding bareback since there is less bulk.
So while I never lost my level of comfort being around horses, handling them or even occasionally riding them, what I am doing now in my lessons with my daughter's coach, is totally different from what I did as a teen, given the very limited resources I had then. That's why I say I might as well have started from scratch!