Dealing with new mom syndrome in horses…

I’m writing this for someone I know reads the blog but I won’t ID them. I think it’s something a lot of us went through with our first horse and I’m hoping someone can offer some helpful advice.

By the time I got my first horse, I’d been in lessons for nine years and was already working polo ponies. When you polo groom, you are 100% responsible for making sure that 6 horses stay the right weight, fit, and completely sound. You get used to inspecting legs daily and memorizing what they look like. You know right away if a horse isn’t quite right or something feels or looks different. It’s great experience and I’d recommend it highly to any of you younger riders who want to really learn horses inside out and learn to ride a variety of temperaments consistently well. So, growing up in that, I didn’t really have the “new mom syndrome” that so many people go through upon purchasing their first horse.

You know what I mean. If you’re a boarding stable owner, you’ve likely encountered this person. They may get upset if their horse has a little hay in his water bucket, for example. I dump buckets once a day, when I clean stalls, and I assume other good barns do likewise. That said, horses like to throw their hay in their bucket and some actually wash their hay. The crystal clear perfection accomplished at cleaning time usually only lasts 5 minutes once the horse goes back into the stall.

This kind of owner will just about have heart failure if their horse comes in from shared turnout with a bite mark, and your reassurances that this is just what horses do won’t assuage their level of upset. This owner worries nonstop about their horse and is often calling upon you to look at it and see if you think it looks thin or is acting sick. Now, while we all far prefer this owner to the owner who doesn’t notice if their horse is thin or acting sick, after a while we end up rolling our eyes when the person heads our way. Their horse is fine, why can’t they see it?

Like I say, I never really went through this. I’ve always had horses, I’ve usually had multiple horses. If they get a cut, they get it washed off and treated. I don’t worry that they’re going to die unless they’re colicking or something that I know is truly life-threatening. I can’t really put myself in the shoes of an adult who didn’t grow up in the barn and is experiencing a constant and continual fear that she is not taking good enough care of her horse, when in reality it’s obvious to everybody but her that she is taking exceptional care of her horse, with the exception that her worrying has resulted in his having to change barns a lot. It sounds to me exactly how (I hear!) people are with their first baby…where they are just convinced they are doing it wrong and will somehow kill it. If you can relate to this syndrome, I’d really appreciate your posting your story or your helpful advice.

Published in: on November 4, 2008 at 5:30 pm  Leave a Comment  

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