At any given time I might have multiple horses for sale, selling horses sucks, but that’s a whole different blog! Today I want to talk about our aspirations versus those of our horses. I often get asked ’Will I be enough for this horse? Do you think he needs a more competitive home? Answer to this is a flat no. I’m yet to meet a horse with big dreams, who thinks he has what it takes and wants to go all the way. These feelings are strictly human. We have ideas about what we want to achieve and by when. We get excited about our prospects as a team, and we imagine that our equine partner is just as competitive as we are. They’re not. Don’t get me wrong, I have horses that love to compete, they will put on a show every time they enter the ring - but do they care whether it’s a grass roots event or the olympics? I don’t think they can tell. The horses that like to put on a show feed off you and your state of mind - the nerves, the excitement, the pressure. Some horses lap that up and perform better than ever. Some, do not. Sure, some show more natural talent in a certain area than another, but I doubt they greet us at the gate wondering why we don’t push them a little harder or step up to the next level.
So what does your horse dream about? Food. That seems to be the main driver. Not that they don’t like a lot more than that but food figures highly in the grand scheme of things. They live in the moment, that thing that animals do that humans are not so good at! The things I have noticed with horses is that they’re rather like toddlers, they love routine, they love food being a big part of that routine, they love a job with a bit of stimulation in the form of different outings, farm hacks, beach and forest hacks, trips to cross country courses or hunts - so many things that they love (even if it takes them awhile to show the love). I am yet to meet a horse that likes arena work to the exclusion of all other activities.
Horses thrive on connection too, they love their herd members, and us (mainly because we provide the food) but they do seem to respond incredibly well to the moments we take to really ‘see’ them. When we slow down and let them talk to us in their own way. Most of them love a scratch - they all have their different little spots - we just have to take our time to find the spot/pressure/type of scratch that floats their boat.
Can you offer a horse a home with plenty of food, a basic routine, some entertainment, lots of love, scratches, pats and treats? Then you are the best thing that ever happened to them, add in some standard care (like farrier and dental) and not only will you have a friend for life, you will have a happy horse that aspires to nothing greater than getting breakfast and being your mate.