What an incredible time we have had during our ‘You Can Do It Too!’ Tour, and a very timely one also. While we have been busting a butt to try to change the way people work with and relate to horses, to try to promote the vital need for a dramatic increase in horsemanship skill and the long past due call for people to learn how horses truly think and behave, the NSW govt has been amidst a push to administer an industry code of practice for equine related activities. I have at this stage had only a cursory glance at the proposed code so I will have much more to say on this later and will call on all of your to do the same, however I have been involved with this proposal in one way or another for some years now. While the motives of those involved are certainly commendable, I very much fear the new code will only give us more rules to follow that will make little or no change to the very real issues that are at hand….and these are the mainstream and accepted mistreatment and misunderstanding of horses and the injury and death of far too many of our precious horse lovers. The code deals mainly with beginner riders, but those most affected are ‘experienced’ horse owners / riders.
Serious changes do need to be made, hence our just completed 2 month tour of Qld, where we provided FREE help, advice and support to any and all who were interested. But introducing this new code of practice will be like putting seat-belts in cars that have no brakes or steering. They are trying to save lives with more rules when they should be focusing on horsemanship. Quite frankly it worries me a lot and after many years of trying to get this point across and being asked to be involved with formatting this code, I feel like I have been screaming into the wind. And no one is hearing me.
More rules, more pointless standards,more helmets, more protective gear, more, more, more is NOT going to save the lives people are hoping it will. And it is not going to stop an issue that almost no one seems to even care about, and that is people causing pain, stress and anxiety in their horses. People are being hurt and killed because of their lack of horsemanship skill and by riding and handling horses that they shouldn’t be. Period. It is WAY past time to change folks. Wake up to yourselves horse owners. Horses are not dangerous, unpredictable or life threatening if you know how to properly relate with them and understand their behavior. They are large animals so of course their is always some risk however all risk can be HUGELY reduced by increasing horsemanship skill. All level of riders are at risk, not just beginners….all level or riders need to get with it, and acknowledge that when it comes to understanding horses truly…..they don’t!!!!
It is really, really simple; don’t get on a horse that is not calm…..ever. Understand that a safe and true partnership begins on the ground. All riders and horse owners need to stop wasting their money on gadgets, gear and feed additives and instead, invest their time in developing their partnership with their horse and establishing TRUE horsemanship. Forget the rules and the gadgets. Our code of practice should be to make horsemanship mandatory.