Let’s Discuss: Horse Management

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Developing rider Alex Green and I looking smokin’ hot in safety goggles while using a laser thingee on some horse’s leg.     

I don’t know about you, but reading Samantha’s report about the simplicity of Mary King’s horse management program felt to me like a swift kick in the bum. That the leading rider in the world is able to accomplish so much with so little (not counting mad training skills and quality horseflesh) is equal parts inspiring and thought-provoking. Certainly, it made me pause and reconsider my own horse-care rituals.

Although I fully understand that there’s no substitute for tried-and-true horse management practices, which typically involve a combination of hard work and elbow grease, I’m certainly guilty of having guzzled the Kool-Aid at times. And I’m not just talking about commonplace alternative medicine practices like chiropractic work, acupuncture, massage and the like.

I’m talking about practices that exist on the fringe of the fringe. I’ve called up animal communicators, and I know how to use a pendulum to see if my horses’ chakras are properly balanced. My show trunk contains an arsenal of essential oils, and I’ve dumped stuff into my horses’ grain that sounds like it was harvested from a garden fertilized by pixie dust. I’ve braided magnets into forelocks before dressage tests and repeated Sanskrit mantras on the way to the start box. I’m a big weirdo, and I’ll be the first to admit it.

But I’m not the only one who indulges in bizarre and/or expensive horse-care rituals. I’ve seen you people with out there with your state-of-the-art infrared-electro-magnetic-whirlpool-massage gadgetry. As competitors in a sport that just keeps getting more competitive, we’re all looking for that edge that’s going to send us shooting straight to the top of the leaderboard.

So, Eventing Nation, what do you think? When it comes to horse-care, where do you draw the line between what’s necessary and what’s over-the-top? Are we making our horses feel better, or are we just making ourselves feel better?

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