I learnt very quickly that I didn't seem to think like most of the other horsey people around me. I was very interested in more natural methods of keeping horses, including bitless, barefoot, nutrition, and especially the horse's emotional state. The responses I got as a 'novice owner' ranged from disbelief, scorn to outright hostility. I was given lots of 'advice' about what I should 'do' with my horse, and how .. and often when I hadn't even asked, or thought I needed an opinion!
When I asked 'why?' I was told 'that's how it should be done', or 'has always been done'. However, I did begin to notice that not all of the information I was getting seemed to be what others were actually doing. So I took a step back and began to observe and do some research of my own.
Did I get a shock! I saw a huge disparity in what was being said and being done. I'd been given handling advice from someone who could not catch their own horse. I'd been given hoof-care advice by some one who never picked their horse's feet out,. I'd been told I wasn't a good enough rider to ride bareback in a halter by someone who wouldn't hack their horse out alone, and I'd even been criticised just for helping other people who were struggling with confidence. Eventually, I came to realise that these types of comments said far more about those that were sharing them than they did about how I was with my horse.
Eventually I reached a point where the only one I took my leads from were my horses. I have learned so much from every one of them, and they have taught me far more, and in much kinder ways, than any human has!
My rule of thumb now is watch and listen. Many people can 'talk the talk', but they can't 'walk the walk'. Choose your advisors very wisely !!!
12 years down the line, I'm still learning new things every time I work with a person or a horse. I really enjoy helping others, and their horses, on their journey. I certainly don't have all the answers, but I treat every day as a school day and I'm working on it!
I am currently between horses right now due to my health but I am looking forward to finding my next best friend and putting my skill set back into action as soon as possible!