I am a proponent of natural horse care. Borderline obsessed honestly. I’ve been reading everything I can get my hands on and doing tons of research since Steven and I have moved the horses to our own care on family owned land.
The point of this is that I am sold. 99.9% I want to do everything I can to get my horses to move more, eat better on a better regimen, go barefoot soundly, the works. I want this to be my horses’ way of life and I still think most of the people are crazy who write about natural horse care.
Jaime Jackson goes a bit far on some things but, to his credit, when he has no evidence and is only speculating, he says so. I am not inclined to believe, for instance, that using chemical fly sprays is going to make my horse colic. I read something to that extent today in a book I wish I could return. The entire book is without citations for her claims and she takes such a holier-than-thou tone that I wanted to argue against her just because she was so unjustly argumentative.
I understand there are a lot of people who dismiss natural horse keeping as hippy crap. A LOT of people. However, to combat this it does no good to come back and tell these people they are essentially abusing their horses in their current practices. Defensive arguments to go offensive and you aren’t going to change anyone’s mind doing that. It’s like telling someone their political views are wrong. Is that going to change their mind? Hell no. It’s going to make them stick to their guns even harder.
I would like to see a book on natural horse care that takes a common-sense and gentle approach to convincing people. Maybe put it out in volumes. When you tell someone all at once that stalls are evil, shoes are evil, blankets are evil, processed feeds are slowly killing your horse and you’re a terrible horse owner… no one will listen to you.
Maybe I will write that book one day. In baby steps. Step one: put your horse outside and let them stay there. Once you are comfortable with that, continue to step two.
I’m still in the process of those steps. I still blanket. It makes me feel anxious to imagine my old mare cold and hayless (she can no longer chew hay) in the winter. Kricket obviously eats plenty of hay to keep her warm, but I would rather not up her hay intake to compensate for weather changes. I may one day do away with blankets, but I might not. Either way it does not make me feel inclined to listen to anything someone has to say if they tell me I’m wrong and stupid and doing my horses a disservice.
To make a long ramble short, proponents of the natural horse model should consider persuasion instead of badgering and guilt. A few facts and citations wouldn’t hurt either…