If you think you made a stupid mistake, often one of the first things you are likely to say is ”I didn’t know.” Therein lies the answer! The solution to avoiding stupid mistakes is to get the knowledge you need before you make a decision. Granted, we can’t know everything there is to know about everything, nor do we need to know everything. You can pick your battles, though, and make a concerted effort to get informed about issues that really matter before you make a decision.
If you or a family member had a serious illness, odds are you would do everything you could to learn about the problem and the various treatments. Your horse’s care and training isn’t as profound an issue as that, but I’m sure you want to do the best you can and that you’re investing quite a bit of time and money in the process.
Take the time to really question what you hear or read. The less you know about something, the more careful you need to be. Intuition may have a place, but it’s no substitute for true knowledge or even common sense. Do your homework. Learn. Get the ammunition you need to make your own decisions based on facts, not hype, personalities or attractively packaged philosophies. Maybe it really is a good thing, maybe not. Think before you leap.
It’s fairly easy to spot someone who is doing things based on a belief system or gut feeling rather than solid knowledge. They will tell you that their saddle, or diet, or training system etc. is ”the” best way. If another person tries it and it doesn’t work for them, it will always be because they didn’t do it correctly. If a horse does not respond, it’s the owner’s or horse’s fault, never the method. Blind adherence is a great way to make stupid mistakes, and the consequences can be serious — usually for the horse. You owe it to yourself and your animal to explore all options. Keep your mind always open, but never empty.
Rule #1 is to seek information from sources that won’t profit from your decision. If you ask a representative of the ”Best Feed Yet” feed company what brand of feed is best for your horse their answer is pretty predictable. Don’t take hype at face value, ask for proof. When you need advice and information, seek out experts — genuine experts, not just self-proclaimed.
Horse Journal exists as an unbiased resource to help you make informed decisions. That’s why we give you the information we use in making our decisions, so you can consider how and why we came to those conclusions. We sometimes hear from readers who didn’t choose our bottom-line product because they read the entire article and determined — for sound reasons, based on the information in our article — that one of the other products was better suited to their situation. That’s great! We’re pleased because it means you were really thinking about it.