TAKING RESPONSIBILITY by Craig Cameron
Remember, you are responsible for your horse’s care. Take that responsibility seriously and build a relationship with him, and you will reap the benefits. So will he.
Our horses do not choose the lives we give them. We chose those lives for them. It is our responsibility to make sure that their lives are good ones. We want our horses to be in a healthy, happy environment and thrive.
I’ve been to a lot of horse facilities that seemed so sterile, so unfriendly, and such natural environments. And I felt like I saw unhappy horses there. I want my horses to be happy. The place doesn’t have to be new or fancy, but it should be clean. And remember that horses are truly herd animals, with that herd mentality. They do better when then can see other horses and can be around and touch other horses, as well.
Horses like to be outside. Personally, I don’t use 12-by-12-foot stalls. I like a more natural environment for the horses. I like them to have room to run, roll, and just relax. When horses can intermingle daily with people, dogs and, of course, other horses, their attitudes and demeanors are going to be more upbeat and happy. Horses have emotions, too —motion —the things that move them. They can be happy, sad, both¬ered, troubled, sure or unsure. I want my horses to be happy. I think horses are happy at my ranch. I can see that in the horses. It is my responsibility to keep them happy and healthy. They’re not out in the wild; they are very much dependent on me. So I don’t want to just work with them on a physical level, but on the mental and emotional levels as well. I want to be a part of their lives, and that includes taking responsibility for their well-being.
I was lucky enough to grow up on a ranch, and out on the ranch is where I love to be. I always loved the old-time cowboys —what they did, the way they dressed, the way they talked. As I kid, I knew I was going to be a cowboy someday. I also knew that people judge a cowboy by his horse. Whether that horse is good or not doesn’t depend on the animal as much as it does on the cowboy. Some of those cowboys in the old days were too rough on the horses. Even as a kid I didn’t like that. I have never liked a bully, and I have never liked to see people or animals abused. I always thought there was a better way, and I wanted to find it.
To this day, one of the first things I tell my students is that I am a student too. I’m here to learn just as they are. We’re in the same boat. The more I learn, the more it seems like I need to learn. But when one door opens, more doors open. Horsemanship is truly an art form and it takes time. I don’t ever want to stop getting better than I am now, and I should have the attitude that I can always better my best effort so far.
We all have to take responsibility for our horses, and for learning. Our horses are counting on us. That positive attitude is for the love of the horse.
A Native Texan Craig Cameron, one of the original clinicians, is on the road more than 44 weeks a year covering 80,000 miles demonstrating the style of horsemanship he has perfected in the last 23 years. Called the “public defender of the horse,” Craig dedicates himself to those who educate their horses by first educating themselves. At an age where most have long since retired the thought of starting colts, Craig Cameron, known as “The Cowboy’s Clinician,” starts hundreds of horses each year. Learn more about Craig Cameron at www.CraigCameron.com
This article was printed in Performance Horse Digest, Volume 9, Issue 3
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