How knowledge can be overwhelming

By Lizzie Hopkinson

I’m sure you know the old saying, “a little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing,” but actually I think a lot of knowledge can be dangerous too, and can overwhelm us to the point of paralysis. In a recent Study Group Live (members only discussion group available through EHA) we were discussing saddle fitting and learnt that Sue Dyson recommends that you have your saddle checked 7 times a year!

Sue Dyson is a well-respected and knowledgeable professional and I am sure that in an ideal world she is right. However here is where too much knowledge becomes a burden. I know I must have my horse shod, wormed, vaccinated, back checked, teeth checked, saddle checked. I know I must feed him correctly (another minefield) keep him correctly (24-hour turnout on un-muddy ground, with shelter, and the correct amount of grazing for his work load, and body type – another target I will no doubt fail to meet!) work him correctly, lessons for him, lessons for me, more body work for me because I sit at a computer and slouch. And I’m exhausted, even writing it down.

The problem is, in the innocence of my childhood, ponies just got shod (if they were lucky) and that was it. Then as I got older I realised how much more care they actually needed, and I became in danger of being overwhelmed by the sheer level of responsibility, and as I understood the consequences of neglecting each and every one of these areas, the more panic stricken I became.

Now I simply schedule the checks into my diary, and trust that the professionals that I have gathered will do their utmost for the care of my horses. We can only do the best that we can, and I think something we forget that….

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