Really, I think you’re right, and sometimes, you simply don’t get enough credit for just how much you know! We all have many roles in life, so to be clear, I mean you the horse owner (or caregiver I suppose, if we’re being particularly politically correct – blugh!)
As a horse and hoof health consultant, I developed The SOUND System as a way to explain the service that I offered, what an owner could expect to get, and what their role in the whole process would be. I could never quite decide if it was a little cheesy or not, but it made everything much clearer for everyone, so I came to kinda love it.
For me, one of the cheesiest, but also, most important elements of the system, was the U. U stands for yep – YOU. I don’t really do text speak often, (only when it amuses me – I do like a good ‘wtf!!!’ now and again) but really, I think YOU are really important when it comes to the health and well-being of your horse.
You are the one who’s there every day, year after year. You know your horse. You know the quirks, the struggles, the triumphs, the history, the day to day stuff and the long term stuff. You are the one who has to implement any programme that’s been given to you, whether it’s from an instructor, vet, bodyworker, trimmer or yard owner.
You’re the one who has to live with that programme every day. You’re the one who has to be out there, rain or shine, doing it. You’re the one who suffers if it doesn’t get the results you were after. You’re the one who worries the most when there’s a problem, and you’re the one who gets to reap the benefits when it all goes to plan!
This puts you in the very unique position of having a huge amount of information about your horse. Which is a truly fabulous resource! Often an underused one at that…
There can be a downside to it though (there really is 2 sides to everything). When you have masses more information, while you almost certainly have the answer, finding it can be more difficult.
Think of it like this…
You’re asked to find the answer to a question. You’re taken to a massive library fills with hundreds of shelves of thousands of books and told ‘The answer is in here’. Well you can’t deny it – it’s almost certain that the answer is in there. Chances of you finding it are going to be more based on luck than judgement though.
What if you’re taken to the library, directed to the relevant section, and told what kind of book it will be in, maybe even what the chapter heading will be like. Now you’re more likely to find the answer… And even get home in time for dinner!
It can be a little like this with our horses, added to all that ‘can’t see the wood for the trees’ information, we also have an emotional attachment, and there’s nothing quite like emotions to cloud a persons judgement!
So what if there was a way to utilise the power and awesomeness of you, the horse owner, but also direct the questions, and show where to look for the answers…
It occurred to me that would be kinda cool. So I’ve created one! I’ve called it the Hoof Geek Health Checks (catchy name huh?) In no way are these health checks supposed to replace the professional advice and support you get.
They are there to give you some guidance and clarity in what to look for and how to monitor what’s happening with your horse. To know what results you’re getting (good or bad) you must have a repeatable way of recording your observations.
There’s 10 different Health Checks, you can use all or just a few of them. You can do them as often as suits you. I’d recommend every 4-6 weeks, but sometimes you might want to do them more often than that. For instance, if you have a laminitic who’s in the middle of an episode, then you might want to do the health check for laminitis every day.
How do you feel as a horse owner?
Do you think you’re given enough credit as an information resource?
Do you worry you’re not doing the best you can?
Do you feel you get the support you need?
Tell me all about it in the comments below…
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