Lies you believed about horses before you started riding


Lies you believed about horses before you started riding

I grew up in a totally non-horsey family. Before I started riding at a local barn, my only exposure to horses was through watching television and reading books. Clearly, most people who have written/produced something mainstream about horses have never even touched one. There were many lies I believed about horses before I entered the real horse world. Finding out the truth about these things pained me a great deal… What lies did you believe about horses before you started riding?

1) Horses know their individual names and come when they are called. Years of watching movies and TV shows as a child led me to believe that horses knew their names just like dogs. I thought I could walk into the stable and call out my precious horse’s name and only it would pop its head out of the stall and greet me with a knicker. False. The only time horses pop their heads out their stalls and knicker is when they think the hay trolley is coming down the aisle…



2) If you love a horse enough it will turn into your Olympic champion mount. I thought that if you put all your love, attention and patience into training a horse you could conquer the world. But in reality, an unathletic horse will never make it to the Olympics regardless of how much you love it. You cannot will your sway-backed, paddling horse into greatness. Sure it will go further than it would with a rider that didn’t dedicate much time towards it but its athleticism will always be a huge limiting factor.



3) Owning a horse is glamorous. Why does media portray horse ownership as such a fancy thing? It’s not. I smell like manure and have bits of straw in my hair 24/7. My hands are callused. I usually walk with a limp from some horse-related injury. My Little Pony makes horses look so clean and beautiful but really they aren’t much cleaner than pigs.


4) You could ride as just a hobby. I thought riding would just be my hobby when I started out. Oh, how wrong I was; anyone that owns a horse knows that this is an all-consuming lifestyle. I guess you could compare it to people that think they can do hardcore drugs just at parties. It never works out that way. Horses are basically an addiction and not a cheap one.



5) Your horse would love you and take care of you just like you take care of it. I thought horses were deeply intuned with their humans and could tell if we were sad, sick or in pain – wrong again. If you ever ride a horse when you are not 100%, your horse will probably sense this and take serious advantage of it.



6) “Hi-yah!” is a universal horse command. Watching old Westerns made me honestly think that yelling “Hi-yah!” and flapping my legs was a foolproof way to get a horse to go. When actually this is probably just a good way to get bucked off. I thought horses were similar to motorcycles, you just needed an okay sense of balance and if you made the right commands, it would listen to you. Turns out horses have their own very opinionated thought patterns and require years of training. Much to my surprise, riders need hours of training too.


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