There are those who have always had horses (me!) and there are those who have never had contact with horses, but would like to. We, as horse people, tend to be wary of those seeking equine company when it’s a person with little to no experience. We think of all the mistakes they could make and all the damage they could do. We think of the poor horse that may become prey to their feverish pettings and coddlings.
But sometimes … when a person is simply looking for an avenue through which to develop themselves …no experience can really be the best experience.
Here are the pros and cons:
Con: People who have had years of horse experience often come with pre-conceived notions of what horsemanship is, and what training should look like.
People who have not been involved in horsemanship at all often have a clear vision of about what relationships, equality and leadership should look like.
Con: Horse people have something to prove to other horse people.
Non-horsey people don’t.
Con: Horses sense the hidden agenda in people who consider themselves ‘experts’.
Often, horses love the energy and innocence coming from the inexperienced. Sometimes ignorance really is bliss.
Con: Horse people generally don’t consider themselves fortunate to have horses. They take it for-granted.
People who don’t own horses feel very special and privileged when they get to be around horses. It’s always good to treat things like a privilege, not a right.
Con: Horse people feel they know everything there is to know, and often end up making close-minded errors.
The inexperienced person is eager to learn, and takes the horse’s feedback much better than someone who is convinced they know all there is to know.
So for those of you who don’t have horses, think how fortunate you are to be starting on a clean slate! Do some research as to what you would value in a horse training program. Find people who do what you admire and learn from them. Remember to keep your mind wide open and to use your intuition. When it’s true, it makes sense even to the smallest child.
This post was edited March 2018.