Have you ever kicked a tyre when you realise you’ve a puncture? Maybe you’ve let your head fall against the steering wheel with frustration when you realise your car is not going anywhere and the dashboard is a toy Vegas. But you know it’s not the car’s fault just as much as you would know it’s not your pet’s fault for not listening to you sometimes or it’s not your horses’s fault if he won’t load straight away. No animal decides to mess up your day!
The rational, intelligent and empathetic mind can reason and can distinguish right from wrong and react accordingly. But let’s call a spade a spade – we can get frustrated and still kick the tyre and give out to our dog for chasing that elderly dog or that little cat perhaps. But how many of us would say, ‘a hiding is not good enough?’ or ‘you dirty so and so?’ when it’s a horse refusing a jump. How many of us see cowardly rather than fear or cowardly rather than a sentient being confused, unsure, or just having a bad day.
Ted Walsh’s car didn’t break down; the unfiltered frustrated even borderline aggressive commentary seemed to not match what the rest of us were witnessing. The RTE presenter let out a giggle which again seemed out of place: was it shock or shyness? It was still out of place. So, what did Ted Walsh’s commentary tell us? If this was his horse and when the horse arrived back at his yard, well, what would happen? We know ‘a hiding is too good for him?’ So, what would be not good enough for him? What in his racing mind would be an appropriate punishment for a horse who simply didn’t want to jump.
I once rescued a horse; she wouldn’t load and to cut a long story short, I was on the clock to get her out quickly or neither her or I would be going anywhere. She couldn’t understand the urgency and my panic would panic her. So in my mind, I forgot about the clock and kept trying, with ease and faking ‘sure we’ve all the time in the world!’ She loaded.
Horses are very sensitive and can refuse a jump for all sorts of reasons especially if they aren’t ready for it. And of course there is ‘rider error’ but Ted Walsh would never call a rider, ‘a chicken-hearted so and so… the dirty rotten so and so!’ No, there would be consequences to that.