11 Things that do NOT make you a bad horse owner


11 Things that do NOT make you a bad horse owner

Owning a horse is a huge responsibility that is probably only comparable to being a parent of a toddler. Well, a toddler that you can turn out in a field for a few hours unsupervised and then lock in a stall for the evening. All equestrians love their horses dearly and nearly dedicate their entire existence to providing and caring for their equine kids. Like human parents, horse moms and dads can be excruciatingly judgemental of their fellow equestrians. There is more than one way to do virtually everything in the horse world, but some people believe their way is the ‘right way’. This attitude means many equestrians are super self-conscious and worry that they are not good enough horse owners. Compounding this feeling is all of the products and treatments that are available to help your horse in some way or another but come with a hefty price tag. The ‘Keeping up with the Joneses’ mentality is common in the horse world and can drive you nearly mad and entirely broke. But I can assure you that despite what others might say doing these everyday things does not make you a bad horse parent…

1) Not feeding your horse a dozen supplements. Sure supplements benefit many horses but not every horse needs one. If your horse is fed a balanced diet and is healthy without supplements, you don’t need to throw some in its feed. Some people act as though a horse owner’s love is directly proportionate to how much money they spend on supplements but don’t worry this isn’t the case.

2) Choosing to clip or not clip your horse. Ah, the great to clip or not to clip debate. You may be in a barn where everyone clips their horses or vice versa, and if you do the opposite, you fear it makes you a bad person. It doesn’t. The choice is yours; you know how to manage your horse.

3) Not owning a giant wardrobe for your horse. Your horse doesn’t need a different blanket for each day of the week. And your horse doesn’t care what its blanket looks like. So what if your horse’s paddock mate is rocking a blanket that costs more than the value of your entire personal wardrobe. Your horse will be okay as long as it has a blanket that fits it comfortably.

4) Turning your horse out in a slightly less-than-ideal paddock. We all wish our horses could frolic about in acres of green pasture. But sadly this isn’t the case in real life, and your horse’s field might have a bit of mud and maybe not enough grass, so you have to throw some hay in there. What matters is the paddock is safe and large enough for your horse to enjoy its freedom.

5) Your horse never has a chiropractic, massage, or acupuncture appointment. Sure, it would be cool if your horse could have access to the finest treatments in the world. But if you have a sound, happy and healthy horse you don’t need to shell out all kinds of money for these posh treatments. When the people at the barn tell you the chiro guy is coming out next week, and you don’t want to book your horse an appointment, that’s okay.

6) Cleaning your tack less frequently than you should. It would be awesome if you could clean your tack on a daily basis but if you are tight on time, this is not realistic. If your saddle isn’t gleaming that’s perfectly acceptable, your horse won’t be embarrassed.



7) Not riding your horse six days a week or riding it every day of the week. Some riders can only ride a few days a week for whatever reason. Others, ride their horses every single day because their horse could use the exercise and they have the time. It is your horse, and you can ride it as much as you want as long as you aren’t totally neglecting it or running it into the ground.

8) Not feeding your horse treats. Some horse owners feed their horses treats like they are going out of style. Sure, your average horse won’t turn down treats, but if you don’t feed your horse a daily treat or two, it won’t be the end of the world. Some horses can even get a bit too pushy if they get fed too many treats. How many treats your horse gets is your choice.

9) Riding in a strong bit. This is a touchy subject amongst some groups of riders. But some horses need and go better in a strong bit. If you use a strong bit correctly, it is not cruel. You are better off riding your horse with enough bit than getting dragged around and waterskiing on its mouth. Ignore the ‘that’s a strong bit’ remarks; you know your mount.

10) Doing a quick grooming job before a ride. It is understandable if you don’t always have time to groom your horse to the nines before a ride. If your horse has a stain on its white sock or some shavings in its tail, it won’t cause it any harm. Do the best you can and don’t sweat the small stuff.

11) Riding like a muppet at a horse show. We have all went into the show ring and for whatever reason suddenly ridden like we have never sat on a horse. You will beat yourself up endlessly for this and apologize to your horse for being such a lousy pilot. But relax, everyone has those shows, and it’s not like you did it on purpose.

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