Whenever I visit barns there is one thing that always draws my eye: The tack rack. Are the bits clean? Very often the answer is a resounding no. To me, that’s a deal breaker. If you can’t be bothered to get your hands dirty cleaning the bit after riding, you have no place using a bit to begin with. Don’t go telling me your horse is your best friend if you’re willing to force your best friend to suck on a bacteria-infected, filthy piece of metal.
I’ll be honest: I hate washing bits. So this is one of numerous reasons I ride bitless.
The Old Stablehand has seen it all and carried them all. He’s sick and tired of lugging your brats around but he’ll keep doing it. Most of all he wants to snooze in a corner of the pasture or in his box. Stay on his good side with regular bribes and health checkups.
I’ve met a lot of Old Stablehands at barns and riding schools. They’re the stable old horses who know better than the instructor and certainly better than the kids they’re lugging around. They don’t know why this job needs to be done but they keep plodding as long as you take good care of them.
If Old Stablehands are treated poorly they turn aggressive or unreliable. They work hard and deserve regular vet and farrier care. And extra carrots.
The Boss takes charge. The Boss wants to work, but you got to ask nicely and you better not forget to praise and reward. The Boss knows that there is a job that needs doin’, so you better roll up those sleeves, put that hard hat on, and get to doin’ it, mate.
Each horse I have owned has had its own unique personality. Some have been pleasers; one was aggressive, and my current Jutland draft is very much the boss of me.
I don’t mean that in a bad way. Emilie is better at being a horse than I am. She’s cool with changes and loves exploring new things. Whenever I curl up in anxiety or pain, she’s the one telling me to breathe and chill. I may point the direction we’re going, but Emilie is very much the one who gets us there. Together.