The one thing that never fails to amaze me is the everyday person's complete lack of animal savvy. The distance that our everyday lives have grown away from livestock is pretty huge. It seems somewhere along the way we've forgotten how to interact with animals. I've had people attempt to RUN up to my horses, who were all minding their business, so that they could give them a hug. Fast speaking New Yorker's who have a tendency to talk in a very big way with their arms really do a number on my critters. Then you've got the very sensitive clients who, afraid of hurting my horses feelings, allow them to eat ALLLLL day when we're trying to get up the trail Or that guy who takes too many protein shakes and thinks he can use his brute strength to make the horse do what he wants. Or the ones who had a bad experience in the past with horses and so they yell out, "WHOA, WHOA, WHOA!!!!" every time the horse so much as looks the wrong way. Did that work last time your horse ran away with you? No. It did not. So, it’s probably not going to slow down this horse’s slightly fast paced walk. It is really often quite entertaining sometimes.
The horses, however, have TOTAL people savvy. They can read a person like a book before they’ve even climbed aboard. Think you’re a macho cowboy? Want to man handle a 1,000 pound animal? Good luck with that. I’ve got ponies way stronger, tougher, and (arguably) smarter than you that will make you feel like a ginormous fool or, at the very least, make sure your butt and family jewels are ruined for approximately three days. Super sensitive to the horses feelings? Think the round little pony that could pass for a hippo because he’s so fat is hungry? Oh, man. Then your three hour ride just became a full day and your knuckles will probably hit the saddle horn at least 73,498 times. And if you’re going to yell out “WHOA, WHOA, WHOA!” then you might as well shriek, “YEEEEHAWWW!” while waving your hat over your head. (Sarcasm. That is sarcasm. Don’t do this.) I swear I’ve actually seen my horses roll their eyes before.
Now, if you’re guilty of any of these things on a trail ride before please don’t feel like I’m picking on you. I truly appreciate everyone that comes out and I understand it’s our job to show you how to ride our horses. It’s a job that I actually love and have been doing for a long time. And besides, imagine what a mess I’d be in a doctor’s operating room or what would happen if I tried to build a rocket ship. Or how badly someone’s hair would look if I played hairdresser for a day. (Ask my dog Bo about my hair cutting skills. He’s had a couple pretty bad trims. Haha.)
The point of this post is not meant to make anyone feel bad, it’s just a reflection on something I find to be mind boggling. It truly wasn’t that long ago that people depended on livestock such as horses in order to LIVE. We are really only a few generations removed from a time when if you didn’t have a horse you didn’t go to town or get your fields plowed. If you didn’t have chickens you didn’t get eggs and chicken soup was not going to happen. No cows? Then no cheese OR burgers for you, my friend. Literally, it’s likely that your great grandpa traveled by horse drawn wagon at some point in his life. The first gas powered car was invented in 1886 but automobiles didn’t really get mass produced until the early 1900’s. And even then it wasn’t until the 1930’s that the average family could afford to buy a car.
How quickly we forget. The average American person these days is more likely to know how to build an iPhone app than how to put a saddle on a horse. Besides that, most people don’t even know how to properly behave around animals in general, wild or domestic. (I’m reminded of a recent headline in the news that detailed how a couple of Yellowstone tourists put a baby bison in their car because they thought he was too cold!!)
The horse has been used for millennia for everything from a beast of burden in everyday life to a soldier’s battle steed in war to a cowboy’s right hand man out on the cattle range and (in some cultures) a source of meat and milk. How did we so quickly become so far removed from an essential tool (and in many cases companion) that until recently mankind has depended on greatly since around 4,000 BC?
What do you guys think?