Rehabilitating A Horse Isn’t The Same As Training

There’s a real misconception in the public about rescuing horses to be rehabilitated. I have done both rehabilitation of horses as well as training. It is vastly different and much akin to high school algebra. Simple mathematics when you stop and add it all up.

If you take the typical 9th grader and set out to teach him or her algebra, it’s not too hard. Assuming they come from an average family, completed the normal course work in grades 1 -8, you shouldn’t have any difficulties generally speaking. Contrast this child with a kid from an abusive situation, who rarely attended classes, and paid no attention when he was there. He has no training, no confidence, and has been beat down in life by the circumstances in which he has lived the past 13 – 14 years of his life.

Anyone can understand and accept the second child will probably encounter a lot more difficulty learning algebra. If I said you might even have to teach some completely non-math living skills before you moved to basic math, no one would question why it might be needed. If I said it might take two or three years to teach the abused child algebra because the background and foundation wasn’t there, probably  no one would question what I was trying to say.

But when I try to say that rehabilitating a horse is not the same as training, some people don’t follow what I tried to explain. You see a shattered horse is like an abused child. It may take years to build trust, confidence, and acceptance before you can go to work on what I would call training. Sure the rehabilitation is “training”, but it’s not the training I would give a horse that is a “clean slate”.

If you haven’t worked with an abused horse and understand what I am trying to say, then please be careful when you go to “training” the rescue horse you just saved. I always hate it when I hear the horse someone just saved stomped on their face and knocked out their teeth. Like people, a troubled horse is a lot more complicated than one that has received proper care. It as simple as high school algebra!


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