What does the word mean in the equine world anyway? People say “this is a safe horse” because he’ll take care of the rider, no spook, no buck, no rear. But in the realm of horsemanship there never is a true “safe,” and it’s simply a word providing false comfort and allows people to get complacent.
Horses are massive prey animals born to take flight at any threat; a half ton projectile with 4 legs. A horse can be desensitized plenty but it’s still going to be big and have instincts.
Even a non-spooky horse trips, loses it’s balance, kicks at a fly at the wrong moment, and innocent situations that can turn “unsafe” quickly. Bee stings. Strange animal encounters on trail rides.
Yes, you do want a safe horse especially for your children; one that will demonstrate patience with the little ones. Does a safe horse truly rule out the obligation you have to teach your child basic safety measures? I’ve seen pictures of kids barefoot and helmet-less riding their backyard horses. I’ve personally seen kids absentmindedly walk under horse’s bellies and around the hind legs. At an old farm I’ve seen kids and older women sun-bathing while holding their horse’s 12 foot lead-lines to graze.
At what point does your “safe horse” stop you from making safe decisions? When you and your children become so accustomed to your “safe horse” that you forget what safe decisions even are?
What happens when the same lack of concern for safety is used with a new horse; when your unsafe decisions become habitual? When that new horse doesn’t want you kid near it’s legs?
Maybe I’m overly cautious, overly critical, or paranoid; I’ve had my foot crushed, have been kicked a handful of times. I’ve been bitten very hard once as well. Some of these instances could have been prevented. Admittedly I became complacent because the horses I’ve worked with are good horses and it’s easy to get too comfortable. In the end, however, it’s best to consider no horse as truly “safe.”
This was another installment of Stream of Consciousness Saturdays. If you’d like to read more blogs participating or join the fun yourself please visit LindaGHill.com