How To Measure a Life: Pounds, Rounds, Minutes and Cups

Accuracy vs. convenience. As humans we always tend to go for the latter, but are we really making things easier for ourselves, or are we just fooling ourselves into thinking we can out smart logic?

I’m thinking also the latter. In stable management and horse keeping we can see numerous example in almost every barn around. The most prominent of which is how we feed our horses and how we work them.

I don’t know anyone who would count the length of a ride in laps around of arena, usually it’s by time. But in maintenance work, and in training most people use ’rounds’ as a way to make sure the work is equal on each side. Why? I’m thinking because it’s easier to just count the rounds.

What I have realized in recent years, is that when we think in rounds it tends to make a small amount of work seem like a lot.

Consider this… It’s spring time and you want to start riding again, but you decide to give Flicka a week or so of lunging to build up her strength before saddling up. You decide to start off with 20 rounds of trotting and 5 rounds of lopping.

Now consider this… It’s spring and you want to condition your horse before you start mounted work again. You decide to lunge her for 3 minutes on each side for around a week before mounting up.

Which scenario sounds like more work for the horse? It’s a trick question, for most horses lunging for 3 minutes is equivalent to around 25 rounds.

Feeding works out to the same. When I we think of our own food, we think of cups and tablespoons. but when an animal weighs 1,000lbs we start to have to talk in pounds. So why do most horse owners measure in cups for their concentrate feeds?Because it seems harder to weigh the food.

Compare the following sentences “I feed my gelding 2 cups of concentrate a day” vs. “I feed my gelding 1 pounds of concentrate a day” They are the same, but when measuring in cups you are much more likely to give more some times, and less others, thus wasting your money and time!

So maybe sometimes when we think we are making things easier for ourselves we are actually making things a lot harder. It’s at least something to think about. 🙂 How do you measure food for thought I wonder?

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