'The nicest thing you can do for your horse is to be clear and consistent.' Karen Rohlf, Equestrian, Author and Trainer
Okay, so I was wr…wr…wr… (sigh) WRONG.
A few weeks ago I wrote a sad blog bemoaning the fact that Sportie’s owner, Kate, told me to stop letting him rub his face on me to relieve his itches. I told her I didn’t mind because it showed that he was comfortable with me, but she said other people who work with him might not appreciate it. Actually the words she said were “Someone who knows better might pop him for that.”
“Knows better?” OK I get it. I’ve been in various horse worlds long enough to know that they don’t mince words and you don’t ever have to guess what they’re thinking. When horse people say something, it needs to be said and they don’t beat around the bush. Still… I mean… how dare she? I may only have half of her horse experience, since she’s owned horses for more than forty years and has run a successful and safe boarding operation. But I know a lot!
All that I think I know doesn’t really matter here at the stables, so my internal arguments remained unvoiced. Kate owns Sportie and thanks to her I have had the pleasure of dozens of joy rides with him over the past two years, in return for barn chores. I am probably nicer to Kate than anyone else in my life right now because I would do NOTHING to jeopardize her good will. Also I didn’t want Sportie “popped” by someone else for something I allowed him to do, so I have been gently pushing his head away and rubbing his itches away with my hands as I was told to.
The past few weeks have been spent training myself to not turn into Sportie’s personal scratching post, only because what Kate wants Kate gets. But I’ve noticed on our last few rides, Sportie has been more likely to listen to me instead of protest. Then I also noticed when out in the field, Sportie might rub on one of his peers but he always gives the lead gelding a respectful amount of personal space. It turned out Kate knew what she was talking about and I didn't. Good boundaries always result in good manners and great respect.
Because I’ve learned to listen to someone who really knows a lot, now I know better.