Wednesday, October 24, 2012

24th October, 2012 Equal Rights!

Riding on the Isle of Wight made me think a lot about the issue of rights, something I last considered when I was a law student. Everyone has rights and it's only when people's rights rub up against each other that the friction and debate arises. There is a fabulous network of bridleways on the Isle of Wight but many of them are rendered unusable because they are criss-crossed by busy roads where drivers are too impatient or too ignorant to slow down and give riders the room they need. Other rights of way are shared with cyclists and walkers who are often with dogs and some are very intolerant of each other. My IOW best friend Annie has a wonderful way of dealing with this, she says "Oh, it's too nice a day to be arguing, you go on and enjoy the rest of your day!"

My landlord calls me the Equine Rights Lady, because I believe that horse's have rights too. Once again there can be places where their rights seem to rub up against our rights and we have to decide whose take precedence. Napping is a prime example, the horse believes that it has a right to stay within it's comfort zone at the field or with its companion and we believe we have the right to go out for a nice ride. The art is to persuade the horse that he has the right to go migrating instead.

This leads me to the subject of ageism to our horses. Please never judge what a horse is capable of or should be doing by his actual age. Instead, work out what he knows and what  gaps there are in his education and start from there. A year in the field, or skating over issues, does not amount to an education, and there are so many young horses that are wearing older suits. Don't be taken in by their disguise; have a look what's really underneath.