I'm a huge fan of 'classic' 70's and 80's TV shows. My favorites are mostly mystery-type shows, but nothing like the blood and guts of CSI that we have today (even though, or perhaps because I was a 'real-life' Forensic Scientist). Back in the day, it was much more about getting into the mind of 'whodunit' than the science of figuring out who did it. So, lately I've come to think of myself as an Equine Columbo. If you know the show at all, Columbo was the original defective detective (sorry Monk, Columbo came first). He was sloppy, he had a glass eye, he was forever losing his pencil, eating boiled eggs, and driving that wreck of a car around. Yet, even though all others disdained him as sloppy, slow, unintelligent, and hopelessly lost, he always figured it out and managed to get the villain to confess.
If you know the show at all, Columbo was the original defective detective (sorry Monk, Columbo came first). He was sloppy, he had a glass eye, he was forever losing his pencil, eating boiled eggs, and driving that wreck of a car around. Yet, even though all others disdained him as sloppy, slow, unintelligent, and hopelessly lost, he always figured it out and managed to get the villain to confess.
Although I don't claim to have anywhere near the same record as Columbo with horses, I do tend to have that same persistence that he does. There is always the threat of being disdained as an unintelligent, neglectful, ignorant, well-intentioned-but-wrong, sloppy, untrained, green horseman when you approach an online horse forum with a question as well. Sometimes as I sit typing out a question or reply, my fingers fly faster than I can read. Then I re-read, backspace, re-type, re-read, backspace, re-type, re-read, add caveats to the beginning and end of my post and hope for the best. Even then I often still get tsk-tsked for my remarks. Then I end up defending myself repeatedly until I turn away in frustration because the question I asked got lost in the 'schooling' I received from other forum members.
Yet, the truth of the matter is that no matter what other people think of our abilities or bond with our horse, our persistence in figuring out what our horse needs is what matters. If there is a question that needs to be answered, I will risk the flames of a forum to seek answers because she is more important than how nameless and faceless people see me. Like Columbo, who always knew that others looked at him with jaundiced eyes, the results of your work are what matters not others' opinions of you. Due diligence requires that you seek out the best for your horse. If that just happens to be found in a forum, then it is better to run the gauntlet than let your horse suffer the consequences. Most likely there will be some pearl of wisdom hidden among the reiterations of oft-repeated 'advice' that may just be the tip of the iceberg that you need. Yet, it matters not where the information comes from, only that you seek it for your horse. Your horse doesn't care whether some internet commenter thinks you're a greenhorn. Your horse just knows that you're there at feeding time and riding time ready for fun.
Again, like Columbo, its important with horses to also persist with that 'one more thing' that may be the answer that you seek. Or at least trying to identify maybe another piece of the puzzle, as it so often was for Columbo. Our lives don't happen in a vacuum and often insignificant things can accumulate into vastly significant masterpieces. Columbo was never ashamed to ask his questions, even if he was ridiculed for his supposed simplicity. The same should be true for horsemen. Horses are amazingly complex, yet utterly simple too. Sometimes the simplest questions yield the greatest results.
Never be afraid to ask those questions!