How to stay sane and sort through ‘expert’ horse advice


WARNING: Uncensored language. But all in fun.

How to stay sane and sort through ‘expert’ horse advice

I adore horsey online forums and magazines. Mostly, they are an essential part of keeping up with the weekly happenings in the fast and frenetic equine world, but sometimes they can be sources of immense entertainment. The world in which we live is vast and diverse, with every possible type of horse and rider imaginable-tall, short, thin, fat, boring or batshit. We have seen them all. This delicious mix of abilities, knowledge (or lack thereof) and personal beliefs, combined with the infinite reach of the Internet, has had many of us pulling up a chair and cracking open the popcorn of an evening. You know THAT moment – when shit just got real and there’s no way you are missing this.

Recently, I read an article called ‘Build A Better Bond’ in a horsey magazine. Don’t get me wrong, my relationship with my horses on the ground and under saddle is very important to me, but it’s just not that simple to achieve. I have come to the conclusion that false reporting by these types of magazines is partly responsible for the large quantities of now-miserable people sucked into the horse vortex with no hope of escape. “Get into horses”, they said. “You can be best friends with them and all sorts”, they said. So here goes…

“Grooming is an easy way to improve your relationship”
Discuss. How? Seriously, how? In my case, the only thing it has improved is my relationship with the accident and emergency department at my local hospital. I suppose it can be a test of reflex and matrix-style contortion, dodging teeth and hooves.

“Knowing his likes and dislikes will help you train him more effectively.”
But what if your horse doesn’t like ANYTHING, except being a dillhole? The scope here is endless. “Well, he’s rather partial to a Mars bar. Did a great dressage test but failed the dope check’. Or ‘He doesn’t like going forward so I used a pig prodder’. More effective my arse……



“Does your horse think his interactions with you are fun and rewarding?”
Do I look like Dr. fucking Phil? I don’t know WHAT he thinks, and sometimes I’m not sure he thinks AT ALL. Horses are pretty fickle on the surface, if they associate you with food, loads of sweeties and getting to do whatever they like whilst you tug uselessly on the reins, then the horse probably DOES think this is fun and rewarding. As for the performance horse, what would he say if he could talk? “I hate half pass, you look fat in those jodhpurs, I want French calfskin tack and actually, you look the perfect height and size for that coffin ditch which I’m planning on stopping at next JUST BECAUSE”. Is he having fun? Can you tell??

“Why not take your horse for a walk, instead of riding?”
Because I’m too damn lazy and I’m just not that into it. If I have to shell all this cash out for Dobbin to live like a king, then the very least the ungrateful fucker can do is allow himself to be ridden. Just what’s the point of taking him for a walk? You return breathless and sweating after four miles of Dobbin simultaneously rearing and power walking, years gone off your life from sheer terror and effort…..who’s the real winner here? Not you, anyway.

“Say thank-you to your horse every day”
What? WHAT? THANK-YOU? Are you kidding me? What am I thanking him for, exactly? Thanks for not bucking me off after I threatened to shoot you? Thanks for standing on my foot and breaking three of my toes? Thanks for deigning to behaving at the event on Sunday after I rode you for nineteen hours on Saturday, leaving my family starving and wondering if I was dead? Thank-you for having me break my heart all week every week earning money to pay for you, in exchange for mass public humiliation and some sort of warped game of ‘Operation’ once a fortnight just for the fun of it? Just NO.

Some of the greatest Internet forum wars come about from differences of opinion, but I have a solution for this. Laughter. It’s good to be a liberal thinker (mostly) and we can learn things from other people if we just give it a chance. For everything else, you can just LAUGH. Regardless of your beliefs on shoeing versus barefoot, medicine versus homoeopathy or complete lunatic versus educated horse care professional, you should try to be tolerant. I mean, for all you know Dobbin DOES feel the benefit of you Feng Shui-ing his stable and making sure that his chakra is aligned with the moon in Uranus. It might even help you to bond with him……*coughs*……

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