What Would You Say To The Average Horse Owner?

What Would You Say To The Average Horse Owner?

3 horses

Here are the responses from HorseConscious readers to our 2014 end of year survey in answer to the question:

“What you would say to the average horse owner if you had 1 minute of airtime on national TV?”

“Train your horse to be handled and ridden to increase their value to a person and help insure their well being in the future”Vicki
“Know your horse is a living, sentient being who deserves the very best from you. Your horse is totally dependent on your love and good will. Please stop kicking, pulling, whipping and return to love.”Anonymous
“Spend time just being with your horse, asking nothing of him. Learn his language. Let him live as natural life as possible, no shoes, stalls. Tell him how much you love him everyday.” – Marsha
“Learn to do some healing with your horses.” – Lesley
“Work on your own emotions, keep emotions out of the arena.” – Melissa
“Spend the time to really get to know your horse and its personality/needs. There is more to them than just getting on for an hour or so of riding.”Anonymous
“Natural is best! Paddock Paradise track system and high-quality first-cutting hay. No sugar, no shoes, no stalls, no blankets, no bits, and no artificial aids like spurs, tie-downs, martingales, flash nosebands, etc. Our horses give us so much, and we need to provide the best care possible,according to the horse’s needs, not our own.”Robynne
“Dont’ treat them as a possession and a piece of property. Develop a relationship with them. Listen and hear them. Be flexible with them. Don’t ride until you build that relationship. Do a lot of groundwork, liberty work, obstacles, fun and games with them before riding. Spend time doing nothing with your horse. Just be with them and you will learn a lot about yourself.”Janet
“Do not abandon horses when they get injured or old, they do not deserve this. When you take on an animal, it is for life. The horse ending up at a meat plant is the cruelest end a horse could face.”Anonymous
“Get help! If you’ve got a question or feel like you’re in over your head, ask for help.”Amanda
“Well I am too opinionated for anyone to allow such a thing.. LOL But I think my topic would include Just Because You Can, Doesn’t Mean You Should and Just Because It Has Always Been, Doesn’t Mean It Was Ever Right. “Kathy
“Interesting as I am preparing a TV lifestyle education series. Learn enough about horses as a species that you can trust your intuition and feel what the horse is really saying, not what others tell you.”Mary Ann
“With horses, you never stop learning, Horses are our best teachers, if only we will “listen”. You don’t have to ride to own a horse, there are plenty of other things to do together. You have to EARN your horse’s trust and respect. When you are not training your horse, you are un-training him, so every moment spent with him means something. If you are upset or worried about other things in your life, don’t ride today – your horse will not understand and may become anxious. Horses are a way of life!”Chris
“Feed free choice hay, and give horses freedom of movement as much as possible, with a choice of whether to be in a shelter or not.”Sue
“Find out about looking at horses in a new and more respectful way which allows horses to live more natural lives, maintain their dignity, and be in a position to impart to us their very precious wisdom.”Anonymous
“Work on developing a relationship with your horse at liberty, and focus as much on liberty games and groundwork as you do on riding. Be sure your horse enjoys his time with you!” Kay
“Horses can teach us so much if we just let them. Truly listen to your horse, and respect him/her. You will be so rewarded.”Barb
“Shoes are not necessary. Look at the barefoot option and use boots if required. Ditto with bits : looks at bitless bridles”Edna
“Have total respect for the horse and forget any goals you might have set out to achieve – let the horse guide you as to what you can learn together and how it should be paced. Ensure that the horse lives as naturally as possible and trust your heart and instincts with this – ignore any external negativity but be open to good, considered advice. Enjoy the journey together – that is where the fun is to be had and there is no rush.”Kate
“Be yourself with the horse. Do not try to be anything other than authentic, real. The horse knows who you are and finds it so difficult to be with someone who pretends to be anything other than who they truly are.”Kim
“Communicate intuitively with your horse at all times. And spend more time listening to them than talking to them. Spend more time being a student of the horse (learning from them) instead of always maintaining the role of teacher/handler/trainer. Allow yourself to open up to what they have to teach you.”Debra
“Take the time to learn how to view the world from your horse’s perspective.”Anonymous
“Please keep learning about your individual horses needs and put these needs above your own needs. Riding is not the ultimate activity to do with your horse. If you strive to keep your horses life interesting and healthy both physically and emotionally. You will be rewarded with a relationship far surpassing anything you have ever thought possible. You will see miracles!”Mariette
“Do NOT breed horses unless you are FULLY prepared to take them back for their natural life.”Anonymous
“Let your horse be a horse. Lots of turnout, more forage, less grain. No shoes, and please ride bitless. Horses’ mental and emotional well being is important and horses are meant to live in herds. Horses need the security of a herd, or at least friends. Given turnout horses are easier to handle, easier to train, and have far fewer bad habits. Zoos have learned to treat animals according to their natures and emotional needs. We horse owners should do better than zoos!! What I tell my clients is that if we were to go into a big building with an aisle down the center and cages on each side, and there was a tiger in every cage – we would immediately denounce it as animal cruelty!!!! But with horses, people are quite happy to see all those cages. There is a huge disconnect between what horses need and what people do with them.”Maureen
“Less is more!”Shelley
“Read Klaus Hemplings books 🙂 I would ask them to think about the following question – if their horse was a cat or a dog, would they treat it the same way? Just because it is a big animal, it does not justify the use of whips and other forms of violence (that are accepted in many parts of ‘the horse world’, but definitely not when it comes to dogs and cats for example). Why is that?”Mette
“Developing feelings of trust and safety are the most important things you can do for your horse and yourself.”FL
“Stop Horse Racing”Anonymous
“We must not use animals such as horses as our belongings: to stroke our egos and make us feel we have power over these animals. They are our equals. They are superior to us in some ways. We must put them on the same level as humans. This will sound radical to many people, but this is an important step towards more love and peace in the world. Animals and kindness to animals will change the human’s world. Horses will be an integral part of this because they relate to the human so well. We also owe it to the horses because of all they did for us for centuries.”Andria
“Take the time to watch.listen.feel.understand.before you jump right in thinking you know. Horse will definitely let you know they appreciate it.”Anonymous
“Give your horse respect. Allow him to have boundaries. He is a sentient being that has immense ability to endure the mistakes that humans have made with them. Be kind to your horse. Have a heart connection with your horse. Spend time doing nothing with him. Spend time walking beside him instead of always on him. He has so much to teach us if we just stop talking, quiet our thoughts, be still and listen. Let your intuition tell you what your ego will not. The more horse-like humans become the better off they will be. When you use your intuition to hear, feel and sense messages these will be the truth. Your horse will mirror your actions, your thoughts, your feelings and give you messages about your heart’s desire. See it as a gift to you from the horse. The horses have been waiting for humans to wake up. To know what is possible if you open yourself up to it.”Jocelyn
“Take the physical pressure off your horse and let him move naturally. Get out of his way!”Margaret
“Spend quality time with your animals”Leslie
“Research best practice in horse care. Keep your herd as “naturally” as you can. Feed the gravelproofhoof diet. Don’t rug or shoe. Make sure they have companionship, shelter and a stimulating environment.. Horses are not easy or cheap to care for. You need to be very committed. Find someone knowledgable as a mentor. Develop a relationship with your horse. Learn how to keep yourself safe around horses. Practice SELF development. Be the best human you can be for your horse.”Sam
“Take it slowly, and watch your horses reaction to what you ask fro him, is he with you, or resistant, does he want to be with you as much as you want to be with him?
So how woud have you have him ‘with’ you all the time what are tiny signs he wants out of the equation – ears fllicking, looking away etc.”
“TMetal free (no bits, spurs, shoes on horses), free ranging natural lifestyle, natural feeds and correct supplements, and kindness, always kindness.”Jan
“Give your horse a chance to improve and we will, but it means training yourself first. If you want him to give to light pressure on the bit, then always start with that light pressure and then increase if you need to – start with a fresh mouth. Before long you will find your horse responding to those very light signals and every one will be much happier.”Anonymous
“Become awakened and deeply aware that your horse is a non-human BEING with thoughts and desires of their own. For the friendship to work, you must develop a two-way communication.

That means LISTENING to your horse’s body language and the gut feeling you get when you quiet yourself inside. Don’t always be the one talking or asking! This is respect.

Have a humble and soft nature before them. They will teach you!”Amber Spirit Horse

“Please treat your horse like the sentient emotional being he/she is.”Anonymous
“Turn your horses out 24/7, without halters and blankets, let them live like horses with other horses in a herd. Don’t nail iron shoes to their hooves, don’t use bits and spurs. Do more ground work, improve your communication, learn to understand your horse and make sure she understands what you want, be patient.”Christiane
“Think of your horse as a Spiritual companion and teacher.”Anonymous
“To gain knowledge and learn as much as possible about horses and how they think, feel, and live.”Pam
“Watch what trainers are doing, rather than what they’re saying they do.”Chuck
“Please be gentle. Do not try to “make” your horse do anything. Show respect and ask nicely and thank him when he does for you.”Bev
“Educate yourself, though I have no hope that those who need it most actually will. So many topics come to mind (harsh bits, no helmets, feeding sweet feed to C/IR horses, a million others) that I could never get anything said in only one minute for trying to say it all!”Amy
“Learn to communicate in horse language and really learn to be present, focused and tuned in!”Sharon
“Listen to the horse…they are not objects, but living beings with emotions and feelings. Ride bitless, treeless saddles, shoeless, natural feeds and products”Susan
“Listen to your horse, your heart, your inner self, your soul.”Madeleine
“Spend many hours/days watching your horse in the pasture. Establish a connection first.”Eeva
“Consider yourself a good horse person only if you consistently think of situations from the horse’s perspective.”Deb
“Never forget you are dealing with an extremely intelligent animal with emotions much like your own. Think how YOU like being treated in some situations – and apply that when working with your horses.”Jade
“Please take a moment to see the world through a horse’s eyes, especially how you relate to them. Body language and intention is so important and a willing, trusting partner is much more rewarding than an animal who is forced (improper use of bit, spurs, tiedowns, drawreins, etc.) into a position or behavior beyond his mental or athletic ability.”Valery
“The hope that they would be treating their horses with care and respect, including giving up the use of the bit if at all possible. Support sanctuaries worldwide.”Susan
“Get rid of the notion that the horse is being stubborn. Don’t ‘make’ your horse do anything. Do you like being made to do something? NO. You like being asked, and your horse does too. If you’re being the leader you should be, your horse has no reason not to do as you ask. So look to improving yourself and your relationship with your horse will grow.”Sharon
“Treat your horse the way you would want to be treated yourself; with respect, kindness, and care.”Sherry
“Don’t always have an agenda- listen to your horse & allow for time to just play.”Kay
“Other than read HorseConscious.com and listen to all the fabulous interviews??? Hummm, lets see, well I would say Learn all you can about Horses, never stop learning and above all, treat your horse with love, understanding and respect,at all times! Allow you horse to live the greatest life possible!”Anonymous
“Don’t confine your horse to a separate stall or paddock. Let your horse have a social life and space to move, roll, play, buddy rub. This is the least that he/ she deserves.”Lisa
“Clicker training or an introduction to positive reinforcement training”Anonymous
“Learn patience. Use positive reinforcement, treat horse with respect, teach as if horse were your 2 year old child, have a kind heart.”Melanie
“Learn about horse psychology and behavior, understand your horse then treat them accordingly.”Anonymous
“I would put in a plug for becoming the person your horse would give leadership to rather than being a leader by force or pain.”Linda
“Remember that a horse carrying a human is NOT natural. Out of respect, learn how to align your body’s weight onto theirs so you are in harmony as you ride. Most horses are unconditional, will carry you regardless and will compensate your imbalance, but at a HUGE price to their bodies resulting in injuries!”Magdalene
“Listen to your horse. Trust, breathe, and remember to put your horse first. Be happy to learn all the time. Don’t be so serious and have some FUN with your horse. There is more to horses than riding.”Vicki Benson
“Love your horse and listen to him/her.Do less and get more.It’s not about riding, but the relationship you have”Kim
“That would boil down to: Learn to love and trust your horse instead of trying to dominate him. Develop yourself personally to a level that a horse will find you a worthy partner instead of a clumsy small predator…. “Paul
“Take the British Horse Society Stage 1 Stable Management test.”Joanne
“Remember your horse has feelings! Treat him the way you would like to be treated yourself, you can be the accepted as leader without using aggressive dominance. He’s here on this planet to be loved.”Debs
“Educate yourself in what a horse is by nature, and be reluctant in being with the horse in a way, that makes its life tolerable. This will be a win win situation for both horse and owner.”Henriette
“To look at their care as being preventative i.e diet for the individuals needs, regular vet care/vaccines,teeth floating (if needed) exercise and providing an enriching environment for them (looking after their emotional needs as well)”Melanie
“Don’t get on a 2 year-old horse. Study the growth and development of horses so you know what you are asking of them.”Anonymous
“Keep things as close to natural as possible. The old ways are just that- the OLD ways. With today’s availability of info, no one should be doing things ‘the way its always been done’.”Sara
“Stay open minded and don’t ever think you have learned everything – we never, ever stop learning about these amazing animals we are lucky enough to get to know. Also, don’t be afraid to listen to yourself – trust your gut. When something doesn’t look or feel right pay attention! If you have the opportunity, watch more than one trainer or clinician to see which one is compatible with what you would like to accomplish. Best of Luck and God Bless! “Wendy
“Listen to your horse, he has something to tell you as well”Alice
“Spend more quiet time with your horses.”Skeetz
“Take care of them like hey were your truest best friend.”Nancy
“Educate yourself. Learn about horses before you make the commitment and keep learning after you do. Don’t get a horse if you aren’t ready to spend long hours of hard work for a few minutes of riding pleasure.
I see way too many horses warehoused in tiny pens for months at a time without proper care. The owners come to see them on holidays and ignore them the rest of the year. And/or they are so ignorant of horses that they can’t even be safe around them. And/or they are afraid of them. Why on earth do they spend enormous amounts of money to basically keep horses in prison? It makes me crazy.
Then there are those who tell me “I have a friend who can’t take care of her horse/s anymore, do you know a place she can donate them to?” Any real horse person knows that the horse rescues are only able to take the most abused, desperate cases. People think they can just dump their horses anywhere. These horses have given their lives and put up with untold suffering at the hands of ignorance and now the people don’t want to take care of them anymore! I tell them that the most humane thing to do is put them down. They can’t believe I would suggest that, they would rather neglect and starve them to death!
People need to know that when you take responsibility for a horse or any animal it is a life long commitment and you had better be ready for the good and bad that comes with it. And the hard decisions.”
“The horse has a lot to teach humans if we’ll only pay attention, listen and stop treating them like the latest disposable toys.” – Anonymous
“Create a partnership with your horse. Love and respect must be earned through trust, not force.” – Julie
“Be surprised by your horse. And trust them.” – Anonymous
“Just keep reading and seeing lots of different clinicians and take what feels comfortable.” – Anne
“1. Leave your ego at the gate. (I think Ruella Yates says that.)
2. Heighten your awareness of the present (Klaus’ last podcast included a meditation of sorts that is phenomenally effective. After doing the meditation and pondering his comment toward the end of it (which was something like “This is how the horse lives every day”) enables me to enter into my horse’s world in a way I’ve never experienced before. It is powerful.).
” – Ginny
“There’s so much to learn and many ways of achieving the same results. Keep an open mind and research what’s out there and how it may apply to you and your horse(s).”Les
“Become a vegetarian”Tom
“When coming to meet your horse, leave the rest of your life behind and “simply” be present from the heart of your heart :)”Eliane
“Make sure you have a well educated farrier, he can save you so much heart ache and keep your horse sound. A large percentage of lameness in horses is caused by poor shoeing and hoof care. Choose your farrier wisely.”Jody
“Enjoy them,be fair to them,and remember they are not machines keep learning about them”Ange
“Do as much groundwork as you can. Have patience. If one method doesn’t seem to be working, think again and try another. Horses are individual, like us, and what works for one might not work for another.”Juliet
“Learn about horse behaviour before you learn about riding.
Learn about horses’ needs before you buy a horse.
Listen to the people who train and educate without violent methods.
Surround yourself with people who think like you and have similar values about horses and their needs.
Treat your horse with respect and clarity, and be prepared to forgive them their confusion as they forgive you your blunders.”
“Listen to your horse and learn to speak their language . Horses are not naughty or aggressive animals there is a reason they behave as they do . You have to learn to communicate with them and understand them .”Ceri
“Listen to them and go with your gut. No one knows your horse better than you.”Vicki
“Every time you spend time with your horse, ask yourself – “what am I asking of my horse, what am I expecting of him, who is benefitting from this interaction, who’s needs are being met… and then work at evening the enchange and see that the horses needs are being met equally. Or even better, see that you interact with your horse without a human agenda, for the reward of the connection and interaction, and for your horse instead.”Laura
“Study the anatomy, physiology, and psychology of horses. Learn about the nature of herd behaviour and how horses relate to one another domestically and in the wild. Use this knowledge to communicate with your horse like a horse.”Jules
“All horses have different personalities. Therefore one training system does not fit all equines.”Carolyn
“Befriend your horse and see what he/she brings to the table. Respect the horse the same way you would a friend and enjoy the time together.”Bibbi
“Get a” connection” with your horse first, and consider his needs.Listen to a few different trainers, Animal Communicators, and choose what feels right.”Anne-Marie
“Find ways to be present with your horse and allow them to be seen and heard.”Joan
“We are priviledged to be in relationship with horses. Their existence is more than just riding, they are here to help raise consciousness of humanity and to deepen the bond between humans, animals and Mother Earth. They are teaching us to be in existence peacefully and in harmony with ALL that exists. They are opening our hearts and expanding upon the way we exist in relationship with others! They are amazing and beautiful ambassadors for peace, love and connection for all of mankind!”Anonymous
“Keep your horse as natural as possible. Out side with a shelter. Hay 24/7”Lisa
“To reach out to your horse and truly listen, enjoying just being together like you are with a friend.”Anonymous
What would you say? Let us have your response to the 1 minute opportunity below

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About the author


Mark is the founder and editor of HorseConscious, which provides a haven for those seeking a gentler, more equal way to be with horses that doesn't involve force or pressure. As well as building a community, where people can meet and exchange ideas, HorseConscious is also a focal point for education in these methods. The site is free for all and we are continually adding new articles and features and we'd love to hear of your experiences too!


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