A Horse, of Course
with Don Blazer
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Copyright © 2009
Don Blazer

          There’s no doubt I’m technologically challenged.

          I admit it…I can answer my cell phone, and I can make a call.  I have no idea how to text message, change the ring tone or add music to entertain someone calling me.

          Maybe it’s because of my intellectual shortcomings that I like horses so much.  I don’t think horses are any more impressed with technology than I am.

         (I like my cell phone with voice mail; horses like techno-fitted saddles.  But let’s face it, we can live without them.  My cell phone drops calls and my voice mail often doesn’t show up for days… techno-fitted saddles are great the day they are measured, but don’t fit so well as the horse ages, gains condition or loses weight, and that could be next week.)

          Getting along with horses isn’t rocket science….lucky for me!

          But big words, icons and complex ideas seem to be the order of the day.

          I was reading an article about the “biomechanics” of riding.

          What are “biomechanics” anyway?

          With a little help from Webster, I learned “biomechanics is the application of principles and techniques of mechanics to structure, functions and capabilities of living organisms.”  And mechanics is the branch of physics that deals with motion and the phenomena of the action of forces on bodies.

          After reading five pages of text on the biomechanics of riding, I finally figured out the author was trying to impress me with her grasp of the “needed depth of understanding required to encourage a horse to move forward.”

          It’s “biomechanics” today…yesterday it was a “leg aid.”

          Technology, of course, has impacted all horse equipment. 

          People trying to sell you the latest bit tout the “technological advances” which create a happy mouth, a stress-less communication or no resistance response due to dynamic design.  They have all kinds of technological jargon about how the bit puts pressure on this part or that part of the mouth to provide instant understanding by the horse.   (Never mind that they’ve never given consideration to your horse’s mouth configuration.)

          Careful analysis, however, reveals that each bit works in exactly the same way….they are comfortable or uncomfortable, and when uncomfortable the horse (you hope) reacts in an effort to get comfortable once again. 

          I think that’s KISS technology—Keep It Simple, Stupid. 

          Both horses and I function pretty well when KISS technology is applied.

          If you want a horse to go forward, apply the principles of biomechanics to the horse’s side…if the force is not great enough, the horse will not move.  Increased force upon the inert body will create the phenomena of motion.

          Once the horse responds to the principle of physics which created the motion, immediately discontinue the pressure.

          In terms I can understand: ask and you’ll get a response.  Praise the correct response; confront the wrong response.

          Or make the good things easy for the horse, and make bad things hard.

          And you thought I’d never be able to master the technology “speak”!

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