Tuesday, May 30, 2017

* * Well~ Ya Don't Say!***

When I was growing up there were a whole lot of myths about horses that were passed down. Most were imparted by my Dad, but a few others were growled at me by the old cowboys that worked the ranch.  Of course as a young impressionable cowgirl, I never thought about disproving these myths- until recently I saw a video and caught myself snorting in derision.

I got to wondering, if any of the things I was told by those old cowboys was in any way right!
Were they true or were they told as cautionary tales?

I decided to do a little research.

1. "If you go barefooted around the barn, you are gonna get hookworms."

Answer~ Yes! Humans can in fact get hookworm
Besides the obvious hazard of stepping on a sharp bit of brick a brack, or having your toes mashed by a stray hoof, humans can get hookworms from going barefoot in a stable yard. 

2. "Never teach your horse to rear, he'll do it when you least want him to and you will get hurt."

Answer~ Rearing is a dangerous habit and a hard one to break. Unless you are training a War Horse ( like the Lipizzaner ) it is a really BAD idea. I HATE a rearing horse, mostly because I have had more than one rank horse rear and fall on me. An unbalanced horse on two legs- well that is just a bad thing. 

3. " Always look at the whorls on a horses face before you buy him. They can tell you what personality he will have."

Answer~ Whorlology- it's a thing! Check out the article I found and the research that some people, including Temple Grandin, have done on that very subject. And here I was thinking it was just a fairy story! 

4. "Never ride with tennis shoes, you might get your foot caught in the stirrup and be dragged to death."

Answer~There are a lot of good reasons to ride in boots. Boots have a heel, heels keep your foot from sliding clear through the stirrups. On a few of the horse forums that I monitor the discussion turns to "Oh, just keep your foot in the proper position and you wont have any trouble with riding in sneakers," To that I say- " You have never ridden a spooky horse." I have seen professional riders lose control of their mounts, be unseated and flip out of the saddle before you can say " Tennis Shoe". The heels of their boots, along with their foot slipping free of the boot has saved a few riders from disaster. 
Other reasons to wear boots around the stable:
A. Spurs fit better and don't slip. 
B.Toes are not as easily crushed in a sturdy boot. 
C. Urine isn't as easily soaked up when wading through the stalls. 
D. Toes fit into the stirrup more readily.
E. Saddles leathers aren't as likely to pinch exposed ankles and calves. 

5. " One white foot, buy him, two white feet, try him. Three white feet eye him , Four white feet, deny him."

Answer~Absolute poppycock. It was believed that white hooves were not as strong as black hooves. We know now that the make up of a hoof has nothing to do with color. I have had white horses with hard black hooves, and white footed horses with soft hooves. That's what farriers are for! 

6. Beware the Chestnut mare!

Answer~ Horses have two base coat colors, red and black. Having said that, the most common color is Chestnut which is in the red family. If you assume that of the red horses in the world, at least half are mares and prone to be 'marish' or cranky. It would be no surprise then that having a cranky red mare might be the norm. From any research I have done, there is no correlation between coat color and temperament. I do know though from experience that if you breed a cranky red mare, you may also get a red filly, who may have it's dams fiery temperament. 

7. A horse that can roll completely over is one worth keeping.
Answer~ Horses can roll for various reasons, and letting them do so is beneficial to their health. I've always thought that a horse that rolls completely over is flexible. Check out this article I found and decide for yourself. 

I'm sure there are a lot of other horse related myths that I haven't heard, if you know any good ones please let me know! 

1 comment:

Shirley said...

Lots of wisdom on them old cowboys! I have had people snicker at me on my insistence on checking the whorls on a horse- if I was smart I would not have bought Coulee with her off center to the left whorl- but time and again all the reasearch I have read validates what I have observed. And I'm really glad my new filly Mesa has a centered swirl, a bit on the low side.
Thanks for the link to the article, I hadn't read the one.