April 27th, 2011

this is the hook

On the desire to feel good about oneself by criticising others

Reading stuff about horses in the US, I get the impression that trail riding (known here as hacking or just riding around the countryside) is seen as a somewhat dangerous pastime. A lot of the attributes of a good trail horse seem to be around how 'spooky' the horse is. "Doesn't spook on trails" is a selling point. I find this kind of strange.

For a start, it doesn't matter what kind of riding you do, sooner or later you're going to be on a horse that spooks. And while just hacking around you are more likely to come across something potentially scary or be leaped at by a grue* than if you were, say, riding in an indoor arena, for the most part you're not likely to end up with your horse bolting in a blind panic unless you accidentally lick an electric fence or fall into a tomo. And it got me wondering, are US horses perhaps more spooky than kiwi ones? I ask this because I've encountered the kiwi naivety before when travelling - we have no real predators here, and for people, this translates to a subconscious assumption that we are safe in the bush**. Our horses never have to worry about coyotes, bears, cougars or large birds of prey snacking on them while they're not looking. Meanwhile, US horses have to be aware of these things (I guess) a lot more - so when they are in the wilderness, perhaps they are on alert more, and thus more likely to spook at sudden movements. Just a thought - anyone want to enlighten me?

* For most of my thoroughbred-based horses in the past, grues look suspiciously like leaves turned underside-up.
** Ask beagl about our agogness at the "Warning, here be cougars" signs we came across in Harbin. Followed by "Aw, yeah, duh, we're kiwis and don't consider such things."

Collapse )

Last night was noisy enough to wake me several times, and cold enough to make me very thankful for the hottie in my bed. Wellington is a city I love despite the weather rather than because of it.