Worst Advice I Ever Got…

You share the horse-related suggestion that you rejected outright—or wish you had.

“Smack him in the face.”
My daughter and I were green; our first horse wouldn’t open his mouth to take the bit. The lady we boarded with told us hitting him would fix it.

Credit: Illustration by Bonnie Timmons

Lori Ateb, New Jersey

“Hold the reins tightly when you go on a trail ride.” 

Maddie Lilly, Virginia

“When a horse colics, walk him out of it.”
An old-wives’ tale that should be changed to “when a horse colics, call your vet.” Would save lives.

Ray Cameron, New York

“They’ll get along fine.” 
In the paddock, my friend’s mare promptly backed mine into a corner and kicked the living daylights out of her.

Julianna Adams, Missouri 

“Kick him as hard as you can.”
I was working a new, green horse that was nervous and prancing. 

Betsy Moss, Oregon

“Bucked off? Get up and get right back on to show the horse who’s boss.” 

Jen Kvalheim, Wisconsin

“Buy mares instead of geldings. If a gelding goes lame, you can’t breed it.”
My dad couldn’t believe I bought my best gelding not once, but twice, and “gave good money for him both times.” 

Sandy Orofino, Montana

“Have the vet give just half the vaccine dose—your horse is small.” 
I would’ve loved to have seen the look on the vet’s face had I said that. 

Megan D’Andrea, Ohio

“Don’t handle your foals until it’s time to wean them.”
Fairly standard advice in the pre-imprinting era, and usually a recipe for a wreck with a terrified weanling that now weighs 500 pounds instead of under 200.

Robbie Patterson, Texas

“Put her on a pony! She can’t get hurt on a pony!”

Jenn Peterson, Florida

“Let me whip her in.”
The driver was in a hurry. She got my mare into the trailer, all right, but we had to stop at the vet’s for a tranquilizer to finish the trip.

Tina Dobbs, Texas

“Put him down.”
My first colt developed sweeney in his shoulder; vets said there was no cure. We turned him out and massaged him daily. He later won awards at the Salinas Rodeo and elsewhere, and was sound until I put him down at 27 in 1991.

Paula Zdenek, Californ

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