1. Research-based medicine, every time. Homeopathic cures, acupuncture, even chiro: there is no research here. These are probably harmless most of the time, but they're also risking the transferred placebo effect, so the horse's problem (if there's actually a problem) may not be solved. Same goes for 99% of feed-through joint supplements, aloe juice (cracks me up every time), etc. Go read Dr. David Ramey's blog, where he discusses what the evidence does and does not show for just about everything. Anecdotal evidence is not data.
2. Gadgets are delightful if they are used correctly. Draw reins, standing martingales, running martingales, and a whole lot of non-snaffle bits are fine if the rider is skilled. Otherwise, they are razors in the hands of monkeys. On the flip side of this coin, I've observed that a lot of people who use bitless bridles on green horses haven't gotten their horses broke to the bit yet, and have given up, thinking their horse is a special butterfly, when really, he just needs to be educated. That said, if everyone is safe and happy and no one's nose is getting unduly hauled on by the bitless contraption, no material harm is being done with them.
|Our only XC school was in draw reins. |
We walked up to some logs and hopped over them.
Should I give her aloe juice to help her overcome the trauma?
3. Everyone in the world needs riding lessons. And even if they have riding lessons, I don't think green riders should have green horses. We all know the "green-on-green leads to black-and-blue" thing, but a lot of people seem to assume it doesn't apply to them. It probably does, and even if you don't end up in the dirt a lot, you're bound to confuse the horse and yourself sometimes. Green riders don't have the confidence in their aids to keep asking the same way over and over until the horse gets it, and they keep changing the rules so the horse can't ever figure it out.
Have fun eviscerating me in the comments. Here is a cute picture of my nephew practicing his ponying skillz to ease the blow.