It's hard to believe that Thanksgiving is right around the corner. Where did the year go? I can think of many things that I'm thankful for in this Thanksgiving season: family, friends, and our family farm to name a few. What about the horses though?
If a Horse Could Be Thankful...
If a horse could be thankful, I wonder what they would be thankful for. I know this is probably unrealistic, seeing as horses don't have the ability to have the same thought processes as we do, but it's fun to speculate!
My horses are lesson horses, summer camp mounts, and pony ride ponies. They work hard for most of the year and then their busy season winds down in the late fall and winter. Then it picks up again in the springtime. I think my horses have a special set of things to be grateful for that may be a little different than a horse that is just owned and ridden by one person.
At our farm, with no indoor, on bad weather days, the horses don't have to work. They may have to stand in the cross ties and get groomed or do some part of an unmounted lesson, but they won't have to go out in the ring and go around and around in what I'm sure they see as mindless circles. I bet my horses do rain dances in the barn at night anytime they see rain clouds.
New riders can be hard on a horse's mouth. They don't mean to, but sometimes they kick and pull at the same time, and give conflicting signals. Some of my horses are well behaved enough that they can ride in a bitless bridle.
This means that they don't have to put up with a bit yanking around in their mouth. The bitless bridles my horses use are basically like rope halters with reins, making a much more pleasant ride for an inexperienced rider than a regular bridle with a bit in their mouth.
Lesson Kids Who Love Feeding Them Treats
I think that my horses are also grateful for the fact that lesson kids love feeding horses treats. One of the first things that the kids learn at the barn is where the treat jar is, and the horses' ears perk up everytime that they see a kid headed in the direction of the feed room.
Walk Around "The Trail"
Though at our farm the trail is just a perimeter loop around the property, the horses look forward to that time outside of the ring. A change of scenery, as well as a chance to try and sneak a mouthful or two of grass when their rider isn't paying attention, is something I'm sure they're thankful for.
Their Training and Good Manners
Since my horses are so well-trained and mannerly, they are probably thankful for the fact that someone taught them to behave that way. That in itself is what landed them in a barn like mine, a place where they will be used, loved and taken care of. They serve a purpose and will never have to worry about whether or not they will be properly cared for.
Without their training, good manners, and gentle personalities, who knows where they would be. Though they do work hard, they can be thankful that they are in a safe place where they are loved and cared for.
Shelter and Turnout Time
I think that my horses are grateful for their stalls and run in sheds so they can stay out of the weather. I think that they are also grateful for being able to be turned out and get muddy and dirty, unlike some show horses who spend all their time standing in stalls.
Who Knows What Horses Are Thankful For
They probably aren't thankful for much of anything besides routine, food, water, and shelter from the weather. They probably do like getting fed treats and getting days off when it rains.
Horses live in the moment, and if we did the same thing, I think that we would spend a lot more time being thankful, grateful, and appreciative. The horses only know how they feel in the present moment and are fully aware of their situations when they are in it. They live in the moment, not thinking about the past or worrying about the future.
Who knows what horses are thankful for, or if they are even capable of being thankful. We can only speculate. I do know one thing for sure – and that is that I'm grateful for my horses and all the lessons that they teach me. I can only hope that they too, in their own way, even though they are just animals, have something to be thankful for this holiday season, whatever it may be!