Can we love our horses too much....I believe so!
I grew up in the traditional hunter/jumper realm which is popular in the Memphis area. Mainly because this is what is prevalent in this area. I just wanted to be around horses and ride anything! My mom had saddlebreds growing up in East Tennessee and also showed them when I was a young child. Although this breed was common in Middle Tennessee and East Tennessee, none were in the this area. I'd have given anything to ride these big, bold, flashy, fire breathing dragons. I thought it was normal for them to be kept in stalls, have crazy tail sets, harnesses, gigantic padded feet....I thought breezing them and warm ups down aisles while hooting and hollering and using fire extinguishers was normal too as a kid. This is a common training technique for "accentuating" their already animated nature. Oh my word....these poor horses, lol! At least back in the day, at the end of a show season in the wintertime, it was common to pull shoes, let them grow out their woolly coat and whiskers, and put them out for winter to let them have some down time, be horses again, and get a break from all the hoopla people put them through during the show season. That was probably their only saving grace to sanity.
Growing up hunter jumper, we had a routine. Horses stayed up summertime when hot, and were turned out in the evenings with buddies. Horses went out in groups- mares and geldings alike. Horses did not go out in turnout blankets- they were not an invention yet! They got their stable sheets and blankets if needed at night time. We let their coats grow to warm them. We didn't have armor-like bell boots and turnout boots or scrim sheets or hoodies or slinky's or sleazies...or whatever the heck they're called now, lol. Horses didn't show 12 months a year, and we often pulled shoes over winter too....but we still rode and played, and had fun when able to. We trail rode, did gymnastics, played bareback games...had fun. What's happened to the fun? What's happened to letting horses be horses?
I think we horse people often get caught up in routine and doing things because we see others do it without really thinking...what's the point of this? Why are we doing things this way...really? Is it out of fear...are we going along with the crowd...is it REALLY for our horse's benefit or is it for our benefit?
Thinking like this has helped me stay in touch with my horses...I stop and think is this going to make my horse happy, really? Here's the deal. Horses survived in the wild, with other horses, with no booties, ear bonnets, sleazies, in the rain, in the cold, in the heat, with the bugs, with dirt, mud, rocks, lightening, with wild boars.....now I'm the first to admit that some of mine would have been toast...natural selection would not have been on their side (which is why God placed them here, with me, the only owner that could love their special quirks....at this point in time, lol!) Point being, when we take our horses so far away from their nature and the things that they prefer....when we make them so delicate a creature that they can't emotionally handle life as a horse any longer....what are we doing??? The issues in our horses are created most often by owners Don't create problems in your horse by loving them so much that you take them away from who they are at heart! Horses are happiest when we allow them to be a horse, be with horses, and do the things that horses do true to their nature....not ours! There's a valuable lesson in this for people. When we can "let go" of our need to control, we become happier souls too. Worry is the tool of the devil. Contentment in the moment is peace and powerful and strong. Horses can teach us how to find this if we listen to their nature.