Happy Mother’s Day to all of you hard working, dedicated mothers. Raising young ones is one of the toughest, most frustrating, most rewarding things to undertake on the planet. Our daughter, Liz, is a new Mom and celebrated her first Mother’s Day today. Liz has a great example in Amy of what a mother can be. She’s her own person and a great Mom in her own right; doing a fantastic job of raising Ella. I don’t know what the ideal mother is but, I imagine she has to be tough as nails in one moment and soft as silk in another. She must struggle to find the balance between being the supporter of trying new things and attempting new challenges but, the keeper of common sense and the compass that keeps her youngster from straying too far from acceptable boundaries. I don’t pretend to have a good grasp of all that entails, I just know that our kids are adults that I really enjoy spending time with and that’s a result of what Amy did and does as their Mother.
We’ve been blessed with three little fillies this Spring. They are all healthy and seem to be doing really well. We are firm believers in allowing the mare to raise their young. We insert ourselves into a foal’s life just enough for them to know that we mean them no harm and that we can be relied upon to be comfortable to be around. Whether for good or for bad, we want the mare to raise her foal to be a horse. We don’t want our foals to be confused by too much human interaction at an early age. I know I’m prejudice but, I think that the horses we allow our mares to raise and then we halter start are well balanced, well-adjusted horses that know where they stand in a herd of horses and where they stand with a human.
Over the years and recently we have had horses come in for training that don’t have a good feel for the human. They don’t have the respect for a human we expect a horse to have and as a result they are not good on the end of a halter rope and are tougher to get started under saddle. We feel bad for those horses because in order for us to be safe around them and to get them safe for their owner, we have to rock their world. Many of the habits they’ve developed have to be changed or eliminated. They have to stop ignoring the human and begin to focus on what they are offering. It sounds simple and easy but, for the horse it’s very difficult. They’ve learned what they’ve lived and they have settled into getting their own way. They have little regard for what the human needs or wants. Learning to respect the leadership of the human is a whole new concept to them. Creating enough pressure for the horse to look for a different answer is sometimes very challenging for the human.
As we all celebrate the wonderful mothers that gave us life and direction we would encourage you to think about allowing the mothers of your foals to raise their young to be good horses. Give those foals the chance to know what you are without influencing too much what they are. The time will come soon enough for those weanlings to get a glimpse of what the human’s world has in store for them. But, by then they will come into our world knowing well the world they come from. Happy Mother’s Day!