Dear non-horse people,
We would be super appreciative if you would stop trying to kill us (albeit unknowingly). This letter is a simple little….guide….to assist you in better understanding how you can help horse people to not die when they venture into your territory.
I will preface this letter with a short story. Yesterday my friends and I decided to take our horses to a local park for a trail ride. It was a beautiful fall day with no incidents (besides my horse getting away from me and trotting around like a complete ass while I hyperventilated violently, but that’s besides the point.)
At the end of our ride, we decided to take photos of each other by the lake. As we’re finishing up we see in the distance (and hear) a small child running pell mell through the woods with his adult caretaker trailing behind him. We knew he saw ponies and was hauling ass at us, so we chose to go the opposite way and take a different trail back. I KID YOU NOT, he hauls his little butt through that field and starts to follow us up into the woods. Nobody stops him, his adult companion thinks this is fine. My horse is now behind the other two horses and starting to run up their butts because he doesn’t understand why a very small human is beating the trail behind him like he’s running the NY marathon. So, finally, I did what I had to do. At the same time my friend and I turned to this poor little 4-year-old kid and yell “YOU HAVE TO STOP RUNNING……NOW!” Scares the heck out of the kid, he runs back to his adult. Issue avoided. Child traumatized.
So on the tail of that, here’s my letter to you, non-horse person.
First and foremost, we know ponies are adorable. No, seriously. We get it. In fact, we’ve been known to yell “Ponies!!!” whenever passing farms on road trips. (and by “we’ve been known to” I mean, we yell the word “ponies” EVERY TIME we pass a farm.)
So we totally understand your excitement. Horses are awesome, and not something the average person is exposed to in public every day. We wouldn’t throw away paycheck after paycheck if horses didn’t offer us something too amazing to be put into words. But we really don’t want to die because you’re excited. SO….without further delay, here’s a few tips.
Do not RUN after horses you see to get a closer look. Horses do not like things that move very fast up behind them. They are prey animals, and instinct will make them decide to drop us like a hot potato if they become threatened.
On that note, DO NOT SNEAK UP QUIETLY behind a horse to get a closer look. Same reason. I never said this is logical…horses are not logical.
Do not HONK if you see us on the side of the road. I mean, seriously. If I need to explain this you don’t deserve a brain.
Do not tailgate horse trailers. Truck and trailer are a cumbersome combination and you being as close to the ramp as possible is NOT in anybody’s best interest.
Do not yell at people on horseback while making large, alarming gestures. Again. We are on prey animals. (Unless there’s a fire or a dinosaur or something chasing us, then all bets are off. Please warn accordingly.)
Do not pet horses (Or any other animal!!!!) without permission. They’re big and they can bite. We’d like to warn you first before they remove your fingers and have to say “I told you so,” while dialing 911 for you.
Do not feed them treats without permission. For a myriad of reasons. But would you like me to walk up to your kid in public and offer it a peanut butter sandwich without asking for permission? Nope. Didn’t think so.
Do not let your dogs run up to us off leash please. I nearly died because of this situation, it’s not fun. Predator running to prey….you get the gist.
DO – Ask us if you can pet our horses or take pictures if we appear to be in a calm state by the trailer, or at the end of our ride. Or even if we’re walking by you leisurely! We’re totally cool with that!
DO – Slow down when driving by us. We will love you forever.
DO – Go around our trucks/trailers on the road. We’re never going to go fast enough for you, so we won’t be offended when you get past us.
DO – Ask permission to feed our horses a treat. We will gladly provide an appropriate snack and instruct you which horses are ok to give a treat to and how to do so.
DO – control your children. We know they’re excited, but we don’t want to see them (or ourselves) get hurt if they don’t know how to act around a large animal. We will gladly instruct them if they’d like to get up close and personal for a better experience.
DO – keep your dogs leashed and give us a wide berth. I don’t want my horse to bash your dog with his hoof because he feels threatened.
When all is said and done, horses bring us a lot of joy. We want to share that joy with the world, but we want to do it safely. So we thank you in advance for your cooperation in this matter.