Blog

Oct
31
"HORSE PEOPLE" By Lynn Hollywood

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As with anything new that you decide to adventure into, the deluge of information can be mind boggling; learning about horses is no exception ~ except learning about horses adds a new dimension ... "horse people"! They are certainly a breed like no other.

All of us have heard the term "there's more than one way to skin a cat"? Yes, well, no "horse person" ever said that, there is only one way, just one, and it's their way. As a person who loves math this was one of the most difficult hurdles (no this is not my discipline) to overcome for me as the new kid. Math is either black or white, there is no gray, I like that. With math all I have to do is learn the formula and I could solve any problem before me and then I could actually check my answer with the same information. Math is not big in the horse industry.

One of my first observations as a newbie was that, unlike different fields of medicine in which the human body has the same needs within each specialty, there are many disciplines within the horse industry and with each discipline the horses' needs seem to transform into something new and different while still remaining the same animal. It's magical. I won't expound on this, we all know who we are.

Feeding ~ "the flake"

I am reminded of the words of my trainer when I got my first horse ... "Feed her 1 flake in the morning & one in the evening." Wow, I thought, that's easy. For the first bale of hay, each day I religiously went out and fed my mare her "flake" of hay twice a day ... then I got to the next bale and after acouple feedings I thought to myself that it made zero sense that flakes were the measure of weight to feed. The first bale had flakes that may have weighed 3 pounds the next were closer to 7 pounds. This defied logic. So, I began researching and came to find that my horse needed approximately 18-22 pounds of hay a day, as opposed to the 6-14 pounds she was getting. She does perfect on that amount and, of course, I understand that watching her is the best way to adjust her food intake. I also found that dividing her food into 4 feedings a day worked best for her .. not me .. but for my horse.

Farriers

I have learned that your horses hooves change when you get a new farrier or trimmer and that the prior farrier was always a bad one who didn't know what he/she was doing.

Boarding your horse means you have to deal with "The barn people" ... a sub-category of "horse people". Let's just say that I am blessed that I have my three horses at home with me.

I have learned as a cinch maker, that if I want to have paying customers, I have to tread lightly with my knowledge. I no longer just blurt out to a prospective client that their cinch is too long, most of the time I just suggest that they may want to try one just a bit smaller.(Often I will send a link to a logical article about fitting a cinch). If you know me you would know how difficult this task is for me! If you understand horse anatomy the fitting of a cinch is easy. Anatomy .. science .. math .. and there you go, there is not a lot of math in the horse industry.

I believe that what it really comes down to is who we are as individuals. How and why we got to be "horse people". There are Urban cowboys, aka TV Cowboys, who just love the idea of riding a powerful animal, but have no desire to learn other aspects of horse care. They would much rather someone else fed their horse, cleaned up after him and handled medical care. They want their horse "stall ready" so as not to have to build a relationship that allows a bond to form, a trust between them. It's just easier to open a stall gate and lead him out than to have to have patience of a horseman. I wanted to learn to ride because I have been passionate about animals since birth; they have been an integral part of my life. Horses are particularly special to me; a inner peace that comes with time, with patience and kindness.

The one thing I know for sure is this ... If you want to know who you are ... ask a horse! (they are mirrors) If you want to know what a horse needs, the same rule applies. It's a lot like math, you can bet you will get an honest answer!

The Wildflower Ranch

Animals build bridges ... bridges change lives.