By Carole Herder
Some of you may have heard of the recent achievement of Italian rider Luca Moneta who recently won the Christmas Puissance in the United Kingdom. Not only was his beautiful mare barefoot, but he gave her carrots at every interval. Moneta has set up an equestrian center in Italy which focuses on training horses more naturally and they are kept barefoot.
It is wonderful to see natural horsemanship and barefoot animals rise to the top of their game, in front of the whole world. Finally people can see that horses are not just machines or animals put here to do our bidding; they are amazing noble creatures whom we should have the utmost respect for.
Gratuity is another thing rarely seen in the horse world. Yes, horses are frequently given a hearty slap on the side of neck to say ‘well done’, but this is not natural or pleasant for the animal. A simple scratch on the withers would be much more acceptable. I saw a quote recently which really reminded me of this: “Gratitude is always the best place to start when working with horses. It’s an even better place to finish” – Mark Rashid. So don’t forget to say ‘thank you’ to your horse, even if they haven’t performed as hoped. Because remember, they could have thrown you off, bitten you, stomped on you or even killed you. But they didn’t, they did the best they could for you that day.