The planets must be aligned in some way that is drawing humans to horses for better and for worse. On the for better front, I see that my fellow blogger the Wind Gatherer has started taking riding lessons; coincidentally, I started giving riding lessons this week to my newest owner, Mark Tronco. Wind Gatherer is already jumping, so he’s a little ahead of Mark, but I can see progress will come quickly because Mark is a runner and a boxer, and that athleticism really helps in riding.
On the for worse front comes news from Chicago that somebody at Hawthorne Park was stupid enough to allow two overweight (and that’s the best I can say for them from the photo I saw) morning disk jockeys race each other, apparently thinking it was safe enough if they put these guys on the “pony” horses instead of actual racing stock. (And apparently neither they nor the reporter from the Sun Times knows the difference, but that’s a separate problem.) Neither one of these guys knew anything about riding, so why they thought this would be a fun promotional stunt is beyond me. One of them, unable to stop his horse (surprise!) decided it would be better to jump off. This would be Darwinian except that he managed to survive the fall. He was, however, just smart enough to regret the whole thing and realize how stupid an idea it was.
It’s really amazing what horses will put up with, and what stupid humans will subject them to. Riding around on horses seems to be such a primordal part of human evolution that we forget that it is a privilege, not a right. Horses put up with us because we have developed a somewhat symbiotic relationship, with the horse usually getting the short end of the stick. Those two yobs in Chicago had no right to climb up on those animals.
Mark and the Wind Gatherer are doing it the right way: Find a kind schoolmaster, take some lessons and earn the privilege of working with the most noble of animals.