I am in several horse groups over on Facebook, and some of the recent posts I have been seeing have gotten me thinking a bit about all the stuff we do (and give) to our horses. Hormones, supplements, complicated feeding regimens, head to toe fly protection, injections, chiropractic work, and the list could go on and on. Maybe we should just let them be horses sometimes.
Most of the things I just listed, I have utilized throughout my equestrian career; and I am not against doing what we can to make our horses more comfortable. I certainly did a lot for Chance over the years between injections, specials shoes, supplements, and even hormones. However, I have found that Chance has been happier and healthier since I stopped all of that. Okay, I do spray him and his new brother down with fly spray twice a day but that is about it. They also live outside. Though I want to put stalls up before winter this year, I find that they are so happy living outside. They also stay pretty fit.
The posts in particular that inspired this post were about hormones being used for mares – even very young mares. Now, I have never owned a mare so I may not be the best person to bring the issue up. However, I have ridden a lot of mares and I always got a long with mares (even the sassy ones). I just would be extremely hesitant to use hormones on a young mare. Shouldn’t she just be trained through her hormonal mood swings, so she will learn how to respect humans even when she is in season? And what is so wrong with a horse having different moods? They aren’t robots. Some days are good, and some are not so good. I did use hormones in the past for Chance, as he sometimes thinks he’s still a stud which made horse shows a little difficult. Looking back though, I’m not sure I would do it again. I wish I had not always been so quick to turn to interventions instead of training through issues, and giving him more time to work through his soundness issues.
Like I said, I am not necessarily against all of these things. I just think that we should not always be so quick to search for an intervention. Sometimes it isn’t a new supplement that the horse needs. Sometimes we just need to let our horses be horses, and let them tell us what they really need.