I know I'm probably preaching to the choir here, but I need to rant.
On Saturday, my husband rode Shasta up to the winery and I drove over to meet him. Since I don't like wine, he went in to do a tasting and I sat outside watching Shasta. She was having a bit of separation anxiety as she's used to there being another horse tied with her. She kept whickering to passing strangers and calling/whinnying down the canyon in search of equine companions. She was also pawing, and spinning back and forth at the post.
|from a previous weekend|
As I was sitting there, I watched multiple people approach her for petting. And I had to yell over to them (I was not sitting next to her, but across a small clearing nearer to the winery) not to do that. I do not understand this. Even as a horse lover, I will ooh and aah over a pretty horse, but I would never approach one without permission. I would also not approach someone else's dog, or bike, or car, or thing that does not belong to me. If it is not mine, I do not have a right to touch it. I'll look from a distance or if I can find the owner ask if I can pet/touch the animal/thing.
The adults at least were decent. The one guy explained that he used to ride as a kid and loved horses and I was like, that's great. But you're wearing sandals and she's jumping around being anxious about separation. Also, you know, she's not yours and you should ask permission before approaching strange animals.
What was worse were the freaking kids. I watched one family walking over to her and the little boy (8-10ish) was swinging his hiking pole all around while walking towards her. I asked them not to approach her and the mom back talked to me in a bitchy tone "he wants to pet the horse." And I nearly cursed them out. Who the hell cares what your kid wants?
Does he own the horse? No.
Did he get permission from the owner to pet the horse? No.
Does you child know how to approach a horse in a safe manner? Obviously not: he's walking towards her swinging a hiking pole around in the air.
Would you sue me if your kid got bit/trampled/injured? In a second.
She continued to allow her son to walk towards Shasta and I told them again he could not go up to her. I started standing up and she finally called the kid back.
Now, I am actually very willing to stop and allow people and well-behaved children to pet my horses when I'm out in public. I often take time out of my ride to stop and meet with people and I'm especially nice to the ones who clearly love horses - usually little girls who will starting jumping all over their parents pointing at the "horsies" when they see me coming. I won't stop for screaming or running children though I will stop from a distance if possible and tell them to stop screaming and running if they want to see the horse. I like to explain to the kids and parents correct behavior around horses - sort of like a trail riding ambassador. Hopefully they won't spook a future horse or get themselves injured if they know some basics.
My horses are actually very well behaved around people and even around kids - even running and screaming ones. However, we all know horses can decide on any given day or any given moment to care a lot about something they've never given a crap about before. And even an unconcerned horse could knock a kid down if the kid is jumping around and the horse moves its head to itch or just look at something.
However, any petting is started off by the person asking me. Not just assuming they have a right to touch my horse.
Had the parents asked me, I would have been happy to explain how to approach her and walk over to her with them. But their attitude of entitlement won them nothing but seething resentment from me. So I told them they weren't allowed to approach or pet her. The finally walked off on their hike and I could hear them muttering to themselves.
Mutter all you want...
Anyone else have problems with people out in public?
Labels: Shasta, Trail Riding