By: Dr. Mike Guerini (www.dunmovinranch.com)
A Horse is a Horse Of Course and wouldn’t it be silly to think of a horse as a machine — yet sometimes that is exactly what happens. Expectations that horses can perform like a machine often lead people to disappointment or sadly — neglect of the horse. The horse is a Noble animal .. and we should treat it as such.
10 Ways that Horses are not Machines
1) Horse’s do not have automatic transmissions … they need guidance to shift (unless they are in run away mode).
2) Horses do not have “Idiot lights” to tell you what is wrong with them. They give signs but most times they are not bright lights … you need to observe.
3) Horses cannot be put aside in a shed for a week and not cared for — it is not a motorcycle or bike — the horse needs daily care, not just care when you are getting ready to use it for the weekend.
4) Horses do not have an on/off switch. When you are finished, you cannot power it down and come back with it in the exact same spot next time you are ready to use it.
5) Horses have aches and pains and not all are able to be fixed with a new part picked up at the store.
6) Flies and insects bother horses — a machine is not bothered by flies sitting on it for days.
7) Machines do not have fear — but horses do have fear and we are the leader to help them past the fear.
8) Kick a machine and it will likely fall over or hurt your foot — kick a horse and you will lose its respect, cause it pain, and give it something to fear. Kick a horse or threaten it in some way and you are a bully — kick a machine and you are just temperamental.
9) A machine can receive a new code, program, or app and be ready to go with something new. A horse learns through training and repetition and this takes time and patience.
10) A machine is the same each day unless it has a broken part or needs fuel. A horse has moods, thoughts, and experiences that make it behave differently each day.
Now all of us have had a machine or two that we think has a mind of its own but we know that is not true.
I ask you all to stop and take a few moments and ask yourself — do you appreciate your horse because it is a Noble animal or are there times you expect, demand, want, require your horse to be like a machine. If you do — you just might be loosing out on some of the magic that comes along with the horse experience. All my horses are unique and give me challenges, make me think, keep me on my toes, and most importantly — my horses bring out my humanity, and humility and they help me to improve as a person ….. and that is magical and something I have never had a machine help me to improve (a few machines have helped me to act like a crazy man — but that is a story for another day).
Next time you are in the barn — make sure you thank your horse for helping you become so much more and remember that he or she is not a machine and can give you so much more.
Dr. Mike Guerini is a clinician, author of multiple Horsemanship books, co-inventor of the Equine Hydro-T and specializes in western performance based instruction and you can learn more about Dr. Mike and his 6 C’s of Horsemanship at http://www.dunmovinranch.com. Dun Movin Ranch is also home to the Equine Hydro-T (www.hydrot.com).