Did I manage to hit just about every major hot topic button out there liable to start online riots?
Most of us probably have some sort of an opinion on any of the above topics. And since it is our opinion, there’s a good chance we’re probably pretty convinced that we’re right. (No one likes to have a wrong opinion, right?)
But when it comes down to it, who’s to say what is right or wrong? Obviously there are some hard and fast rules of the world — like I’m pretty sure running a red light is illegal in all 50 states, no matter your opinion on whether stopping for other traffic is stupid or not. But there are a wide range of subjects in which “Your Mileage May Vary” and one size definitely does not fit all.
Especially on those topics that we feel very passionate about, we (myself included!) can get somewhat…ardent in our beliefs. And that passion and enthusiasm is awesome, and usually contagious. It’s the reason for the success of word-of-mouth referrals — you’re going to be more apt to consider something that you received direct information and/or feedback about from a personal, reliable source, versus just a shiny marketing ad.
Where I begin to have a problem is the black-and-white extremism that says “This is the only way to do something and everything else is just wrong” and doesn’t consider that maybe what works for them won’t work for someone else. Very few things in this world are absolute, and while there are times that “If it’s not working, you’re doing it wrong” are applicable…more often than not, it’s better to keep an open mind, be flexible, and willing to do what works.
Naturally, me being me, of course I have an opinion on all of the above topics. ;) However, just to keep life interesting, I’ve had to re-visit some of these opinions depending on the horse in question, and learn to be very flexible.
Personally, I’m not a huge fan of treeless saddles…for me. I recognize that they work really well for a lot of people, but my experiments with them have been mostly underwhelming. I also admittedly ride off my stirrups probably a little more than I should, so pressure dissipation on a treeless has the potential to be an issue with me. After sitting in several models of them, I would dearly love to try a ReactorPanel at some point, as their specific flex-panel technology intrigues me. And in the meantime, my old faithful Duett still continues to do the job.
The barefoot vs booted vs shod debate could probably take up a post all on its own. Suffice today: I have barefoot, booted performance horses. I want them barefoot and moving around as much as possible when they’re not working; but the majority of the time when they’re being ridden, I use boots. My personal stance on that is that under saddle, I’m asking them to do things that are unnatural, such as carry and balance weight, and move at speeds that may be faster than the terrain would ideally dictate, especially in a competition setting where we’re racing against the clock and may not have the luxury of slowing down for every questionable section.
As a caveat to that, I will say that training barefoot on a young horse can be a handy training tool. Not only does it teach them to pay attention to their feet — and that landing on rocks is a bad idea — it can also help curb excessive enthusiasm on a more forward horse after they clatter through a few rock piles and realize that might not have been the best idea.