Help me! Help me!
The man called out as he came lurching down the path, a rifle clutched against his chest.
I was hand walking my leopard Appaloosa, Spotzy, with a friend when we noticed the armed man coming towards us.
Quickly realizing that the man’s “rifle” was a realistic-looking pellet gun, we ran to help him.
The man had been bitten on his right hand by a large rattlesnake.
With the snake’s venom racing through his body, the man, who I’ll call John, told us that his lips had already turned numb.
And now he felt the numbness spreading. John was really scared.
And he started to freak out.
I knew that the quieter John was, the better his chances of recovering from the rattlesnake bite.
Since I seemed more adept at calming down the panicked man, my non-horsey friend ran back to the ranch to call 911.
(Yes, this happened years ago - before we all carried phones with us!)
Don’t forget, I had my horse...
Does your horse pin his ears when you tighten the girth? Does he get grumpy, swish his tail or threaten to bite or kick when you cinch him up? Does your horse seem to hold her breath (“blowing up” or “bloating”) when you’re tacking her up?1
Any of those reactions would fit the definition of a “girthy” or “cinchy” horse. Cinchy horses are so common that many equestrians think nothing of it. But resistance during tacking up can set the tone for your whole ride, and lead to diminished equine performance too.
Tying your horse up short may prevent you from being bitten, and disciplining your horse may discourage the biting, kicking, or tail swishing, but neither method will improve how your horse feels about saddling. In fact, punitive measures usually increase tension in your horse’s mind and muscles.
That’s no way to build a trusting relationship with your horse! Plus, it can lead to diminished performance and a...