That is the title of the article I came across today. Click here. It was especially interesting to me since my farrier and I had just had that exact same conversation when he was here yesterday morning. He's been in the business for almost 40 years and grew up on a ranch in Montana, and out of all that experience he had these words:
With horses, less is really more.
I know others have said that, too, but coming from someone who gets under their feet every day, it has extra value. After all, he's risking his life for that philosophy.
He went on to say,
If I was to come in here and treat your horses bad, it would take me coming another 8 times, at least, and treating them good to undo the damage, and with some it might never get undone.
If you've been around horses at all, you know they have good memories. I've seen my horses reunited with old members of their herd and witnessed them become ecstatic to greet their old friends. I've seen them grieve a lost human buddy, too. (Red's story).
More and more I've come to believe less is much, much more as long as when you are with them it is quality time--you expect respect and you're fair, kind and clear. If you're not going to be doing anything of value with them, in my opinion, they're best left with their herd.
I don't believe horses need to be worked with every day. In fact, I'd go so far as to say they need to be left alone for good chunks of time. On the other hand, when you're really starting them under saddle and you want to get going on the trails, you do need more time....riding.
And that was the other thing he said. He said they used to pull the young horses off the range, take them into the roundpen and train them for the saddle and bridle, ride them a bit in the roundpen and arena, and then get the heck out of there and onto a real job with cows. He thinks that's the way their bodies and brains are meant to go: let them move out and give them a job.
I've been following that philosophy for the last few years and every time I go out with any of my horses they take right up where we left off. My farrier's last words to me before he left yesterday were these:
All of your horses are big sweethearts.
I will tell you, there is no greater compliment than that to me.