Thinking outside the Box is revolutionary, thinking outside the Horsebox is more so.
A revolution needs a past to revolt against, preferably suitably revolting, and a future to aim for, without the revolting bits.
And coincidentally one of the bits I am fighting, are the revolting bits, whips, spurs which define equestrianism today.
There is another way.
“Thinking outside the Horsebox” is the alternative to Hunting, the Derby, Goodwood, Polo at Smith’s Lawn, Eventing at Burghley, Dressage anywhere.
“Thinking outside the Horsebox” is about horses, and how we think about them. To take a simple example, I wanted to demonstrate the Bannedwaggon, my latest vehicle, pulled by Obama, my pony, driven solo from a wheelchair, round Hyde Park, and who doesn’t. So I drove Obama and the vehicle there from Exeter.
That was a full stop there. The sentence ended. That is it. I didn’t put him in a horsebox and drive the horsebox from Exeter to London, I drove Obama and the Bannedwaggon from Exeter to Hyde Park.
That is Thinking outside the Horsebox.
The British Driving Society insist that a whip, when driving an animal, is vital for safety . I didn’t use one, I didn’t carry one. That is Thinking outside the Horsebox. The fact that I didn’t need one, that at no stage in 16 tough and frequently dangerous days, did I ever think “gosh I wish I could whip this animal to make me safer” suggests that Thinking outside the Horsebox isn’t a bad idea. I never thought a whip would make Obama safer either. I occasionally wanted to take a whip TO various people, mostly car drivers, but that would be illegal. To carry a whip for such a purpose, or to suggest to anyone that using one for such a purpose, is a good idea, is illegal.
I would suggest carrying a whip to hit such people if it wasn’t for one fact. Stuff legality. Whips scare horses, they scare ponies. If you are around any animal, carrying something that scares it, is stupid. Thinking outside the Horsebox, suggests that whips do no good, demonstrably do harm, are illegal if used for their only sensible purpose, so ban the bloody things.
The equestrain Establishment are infatuated with nailing lumps of metal on horses feet. The results are injuries to horses and people, deaths of horses and people. To make horses safer, they are bandaged to within an inch of their lives. To make people safer they have to wear a special helmet that can cope with the impact of a horseshoe.
Motorcycle crash helmets as worn by nutcases surviving 180mph+ crashes aren’t good enough. Formula 1 motorracing helmets aren’t good enough. Those helmets haven’t been tested against a horseshoe shaped anvil.
The shoes are clearly bloody dangerous. So, Thinking outside the Horsebox, Obama wore no shoes on his back feeet, and velcro on Old Mac hoofboots in front to protect his rather delicate soles. He had no problems with either set of feet.
Bits, lumps of metal inserted into an animals mouth to control it’s position, no it’s a pony I’m talking about not a trout, NOT a fishhook, that’s completely different, that’s a piece of metal, inserted into an animals mouth to control its position. Totally different, a piece of metal, not a lump.
And we aren’t talking about slavery, the bits tied into slaves mouths as a punishment. Apparently 12 hours wearing a bit reduces a human to a very obedient creature, and has the massive virtue if you want to sell the slave later, that it leaves no marks on the body. And who can see a slaves soul.
I used the Dr Cook bitless bridle, though I have driven Obama in the Be Kind, and in a rope halter Gunnar Schillig made for me for a completely different pony. Thinking outside the Horsebox again, and at NO stage did I wish I had a bit in Obama’s mouth. Maserati owners might benefit from a lump of metal tied in their mouths, or possible a good whipping, but Obama wouldn’t.
When Obama was most scared, and Exeter to Hyde Park was a very scary trip, he turned to me for reassurance and Ginger Nuts.
Thinking outside the Horsebox produced my theory of the Godmother training concept. The essence of which is BE NICE. If the pony thinks you are nice, he will turn to you in times of trouble. If he thinks you are a whip weilding shit, he will run.
The horseworld call this bolting.
Obama bolted a few times. The Bannedwaggon was in a highly experimental state, I hadn’t a clue about my route, and took the Bannedwaggon down a route that NO other horsedrawn vehicle in the world, with the exception of a saddlechariot, could have taken.Stupid yes, educational definitely.
Every so often things went pearshaped, the vehicle flipped up or did something dramatic and Obama decided to depart at high speed. The first few times, I was ready and pulled the instant release system. Obama was no longer being followed by some weird object making strange noises, and stopped for me to sort things out. Richmond Bridge, rush hour is a good test of an emergency system.
The last time, I wasn’t concentrating, had the ripcord coming off the wrong side, was under a vehicle being dragged at speed down a narrow alley into a wall, but managed to pull the ripcord, and Obama stopped in seconds and came back to ask what the hell thought I was doing.
It took me three weeks to get him back in the Bannedwaggon, at least partly because I found moving fairly painful, and had to take his training right back to the beginning, but the instant release system works, even under extreme pressure. It just scared the shit out of both of us.
Thinking outside the Horsebox invented and developed the saddlechariot instant release sytem, for which the equestrain establishment are carefully avoiding looking at.
Thinking outside the Horsebox, I realise that safety, kindness, accessiblity, can never be acceptable to the Equestrian Establishment.
Thinking outside the Horsebox offers a kinder way to work with horses, a safer way to work with horses and a more accessible way for everyone, whatever their background, whatever their earnings, to work with horses.
Safe, Kind, Accessible. This totally unacceptable to the British Equestrian Establishment. Depressingly I have documented proof.
Thinking outside the Horsebox, I have to ask whether the vested interests of a few, should interfere with trying to bring pleasure to many, and I come up with the Happy answer, stuff the Establishment.
I started the drive from Exeter to Hyde Park as a pretty pissed off individual, I returned totally devoted to revolution. So, expect fireworks.
Thinking outside the horsebox is the story of a couple of journeys with Obama and without a horsebox, and of ten years getting better and better at horses, better and better building safe pony and horsedrawn vehicles and getting worse and worse at people.
It is also the story of ideas, of a future where horses and ponies are seen as a valuable part of society, not as a visible statement of arrogant superiority for the few.
I have said it before, People Like Ponies. Not just upper class people, not just rich people, just people. And ponies like people without whips, who don’t kick them, who don’t tie lumps of metal in their mouths. Surprising, isn’t it.
Obama is a rescue society reject. These pictures only show some of the stuff he has done, not the logging or the rowcrop agricultural, or the extreme ATV or taking wheelchairs on the beach. But no whips were necessary for any of this, no bits, no horseshoes, no spurs, no violence, no punishment.
If I can do without, so can everyone, and wouldn’t the ponies and horses love that?
There is more to come, on agriculture, on access with ponies, access to ponies, on training, on education, working in the developing world, working with disabilities, but the pictures tell the story,
People like Ponies, it’s time to Think outside the Horsebox.