Thursday, September 10, 2009

Equine Information Overload

This evening I was flipping through one of those local free equine industry know the type- an assortment of articles on training and health, as well as a smattering of local club updates, events calenders, horses for sale and other equine related product advertising. Here in the Northwest we have Equine Connections, Saddle Up, The Northwest Horse Connection and a few others. Whenever I pick up these magazines I always intend to read the articles but inevitably I end up flipping through, looking at the pictures and products, the horses for sale and such but never really giving the informative articles more than a cursory glace before guiltily turning the page. I have a LOT to learn about all aspects of horse care and riding... loads, heaps, oodles... but sometimes I just get overwhelmed by the sheer volume of information we, as horsemen, are expected to know, learn, or care about...

Do you ever get tired of it? Do you ever just step back and say..."Yes, I realize that it is important for me to be able to recognize the signs of blindness, but heaven help me I just dont give a shit!" Is it really necessary for me to read the university study on "Feeding the Senior Horse" when my mare is only six? Why do I feel like I'm a horrible horsemen when I flip past the "Seven Signs of Laminitis" to check out that hot pink Pro Choice saddle pad on page six?

I know I'm not always the sharpest tool in the shed but really, why is it that I've been reading and learning about horses since I was a little girl but I still feel like a complete imbecile every time I flip open a horse magazine?

Is there any end to what we must learn? From founder to farriers, feed to foals... geldings to groundwork, gut sounds to gymkhanas...artificial aids to a.i.... shall I go on?

How about balking....
base narrow
base wide
bell boots

And that's just the "b"s!!

I want to learn more about horses...really! I do! I just sometimes resent the feeling that if I dont know (or *gasp* dont care) that makes me a bad horseman...

Am I alone?


  1. Aahhh! So with you! I get totally overwhelmed. Especially with the internet. On one hand it's great...if I want to learn more about something I can just look it up. But on the other hand, that inevitably ends up leading me to countless other sites where I get sucked in to the point where my brain is literally spinning around in my skull! And I wonder if I will ever know as much as I *should* know about taking care of my horse!

  2. No. You are not. I always feel everyone knows more than me...and they know they know more than me, too. hah!

    Horses are complicated critters, aren't they? Or do we just make them that way?


  3. Not hardly. The fact that I've started on my horse journey so late in life pretty much ensures that I'll never know it all. About the best I can hope for is progress. Heck, half the time I don't even understand what they're talking about.

  4. I try to read the stable management, feeding/nutrition/pasture management and health stuff, because I have to care for and watch our for 11 horses ranging in age from 6 to over 30. I don't much bother with the showing, product and training stuff any more - I don't buy many products except those I need, and I already have most of that, I don't show any more and most of the training stuff is of limited use to me. So that cuts down on lots of stuff - I've let a lot of magazines go for that reason.

  5. Ya know - I feel I am at the other end of the spectrum. Not setting myself up on a "high horse" he he ....sorry.... or anything but ever since I was little I've read everything I could get my hands on about horses - all horses, regardless of age, breed or discipline.

    And lately (past couple of years) I feel that everything I pick up is just the same information regurgitated in a a different form. Sigh and then some stuff I humored and read it anyway even though I know it was just another "out there whacko trainer" preaching a more "humane" way to get a 1200 pound flight animal to see things their way like they are a born again christian....sigh......

    Some of my most valuable knowledge was learned watch my trainer train literally hundreds of horses, and watch him do things - veterinary things - client things - money saving things - facility maintenance things - trouble shooting things .... ALL sorts of things, not by reading magazine articles. Because I saw it work or not work and committed that info to memory.

    So as of recently I have kind of fallen out of the habit of reading horse pubs, I read H&R of course in support of Juli Thorson but let almost all other subscriptions lapse. And unless I am searching to buy something (which I am most certainly not) I don't even pick up the free ones anymore.

    Even the article I write I feel has gotten bland - so yeah I know where you come from and don't worry if you don't know the 7 Signs of Blindness - your vet will when you call him to find out why Fuffy is all the sudden so spooky.

    If you know the basics you are doing pretty good:

    Barb wire is not horse fencing
    Horses need their feet trimmed ever 6-8 weeks
    They need to be fed even when there is grass on the ground.
    You shouldn't see all their ribs - ever.
    They need to be wormed.
    They need to see a vet at least once a year at least to check their teeth and get vaccinated.
    They need lots of fresh water - all the time.
    Take the halter off when you turn them out.

    And my personal favorite - don't hang out behind them.

  6. You aren't alone in feeling overwhelmed with all the info. I have a large stack of horse magazines I just have to find time to sit down and go through them. Usually I skim the articles with the intent to read them more thoroughly "when I have time." Ha! When will that happen? I find a lot of useful information shared via blogs and bulletin boards by horse owners. Then I always do my own research or ask my vet before I take something as gospel.

  7. I must admit I'm with Stephanie. I pretty much never read horse publications. It's not that I think I know everything - because I don't. It's more that I just don't care to see the same old, same old in a different format. Seriously - if I truly need info I generally go to my vet and ask her (she rides Jumpers).

    I do get my guilty window shopping done via the internet and if I know what I'm looking for I'll google it - otherwise I'm pretty content with randomly paging through the odd Horse and Rider or the AQHA magazine (only because the one is at the school library and the other gets sent to me.) And like you, I'd much rather look at the pictures or see the latest and greatest products!