Thursday, March 30, 2017


How do we fix that person not willing to take good advice?

This was a question asked on another blog in response to an endurance rider making a bad decision at a ride camp. The blogger had offered a suggestion to the rider, plus materials to help the rider with her horse enclosure system. The rider had blown off the suggestion, leaving the horses in her care in an unsafe situation. The blogger had reported the issue to the Ride Manager and let the authorities take care of it. This was discussed on the blog because of an incident last weekend at an endurance ride where a group of horses broke free of containment and three of them ended up dead.

The blogger asked "how do we fix that person not willing to take good advice?"

There are always newbies around horses, most frequently older women who fell in love with the idea of a horse when they were teenagers (or younger) but because of circumstance were unable to pursue their bliss until they were older. The economic security and ability to make adult decisions has allowed people with little real experience and a lot of romanticized ideals about horses to launch themselves into the horse world. And that's wonderful. Really. It is the life blood of our industry and will be the reason horses continue to thrive in our society.

However, it does mean that there are people handling 1000 lb animals with less knowledge and general experience than might be best for them. Luckily, most of the ones I know have a great relationship with a trainer and are working on educating themselves. Some of them carry forward knowledge from when they were younger and have earlier memories and experiences to draw upon in this new work of horses (like me). But then there are the few that either believe they know it all, have learned all they need to know, or don't know how to take in information and apply it to their situation.

How do we, as equestrians, deal with those type of situations? In the case of the blogger story at ride camp, she was able to appeal to the person in charge and have the authority for the ride take care of it. But what about at the barn or out on the trail or at a show, when someone is acting in an unsafe manner? Americans in general have a very hands off approach to dealing with this kind of issue, whether it is with spouses, children, pets or property. It takes a lot for an individual to intervene, even when what is happening is obviously a situation that would benefit from intervention. However, when you are talking about horses, you are talking about a thousand pounds of reactive, alert animal with the propensity to kill itself. At what point do we intervene for the safety of the horse and the horses around us, because once one goes a bit nuts, they are all likely to follow, setting off a chain event to the detriment of all. And then people end up hurt and the horses end up dead.

How do we fix that person not willing to take good advice?


  1. They are unfixable. It is the story of my life in vet med as well: you can explain until you are blue in the face, but so often you have a client that truly believes they know everything and Dr. Google has the answer to all questions. The animal is the one that ultimately pays, with its life. You can't fix stupid. You can talk to them, try to explain, and maybe they'll be receptive/see the light and try to change...but most of the time, unless there is true, verifiable abuse happening, the best you can do is to get as far away as possible so that when all hell breaks loose, you are not caught up in it.

    1. What Saiph said. I have had to drop a few clients who were like this (and fit your description to a T). All of them ended up learning the hard way that they should have listened. Sadly, it is often at the horses' expense :(

  2. You can only control yourself.

  3. Most people don't even want advice.