Dr John Steiner
Memorial day three years ago I was ready to reacquaint myself with my original mentor, Dr John Steiner. He had an equine practice in Mahopac, NY and I would go on rounds with him.
I remember him coming to the farm where I worked in Bedford Hills, NY with a new product. It was a powdered medication that came in a foil package. “Just add one of these to the horse’s feed and it will take care of the worms in it.” That was 1973.
I often visited his surgery where long before I thought of following my veterinary career, Dr Steiner gave me insights into my future. I also spent most of my days off riding in his truck and discussed visits between farms. It was here where I learned the basics that I still believe are as valid today as they were 40 years ago.
Dr Steiner moved to Kentucky where he became an internationally respected authority on equine reproduction. Before he went though, he guided me on how to pull out my first stuck foal. It was 2 in the morning, spring, 1976. “Your arms are longer than mine, Geoff. You’re elected to get in this mare and pull it out. Let me show you.”
Three years ago he returned to New York. I was looking forward to seeing him again in June. But that Memorial Day he was at a local veterinary clinic working on a stallion. No one saw what happened, but Dr Steiner was knocked down and injured his head. He died three days later.
I had just finished floating the horses of Mary Straz in Florida. Many of you already know that I often give hugs at the end of my visit. As I gave Mary her hug she said to me, “Thanks for that Geoff. You never know if it will be the last time we see each other.”
Mary was an experienced dressage trainer but on that early summer day a month later in New York, she was returning to the barn. At the walk and on the buckle, her horse tripped and she fell off. She died in 15 minutes.
The Car v. The Horse
Henry Ford made the car affordable to most people in the early 1900’s. A century later cars are ubiquitous. While over 50,000 people die each year on roads in America, there would be many more killed today if everyone still used horses. While cars are machines with no emotions, horses are emotional and thinking living beings. Unpredictability is arguably a synonym for the word horse.
Before we discuss any of the foundations of horsemanship, it is important to understand the first law. Both of my friends were VERY experienced with horses and they are now dead. Many reading this have little horse experience. How many people do you know injured or even killed by a horse.
I am NOT trying to scare you. I am just stating a fact. And with this fact comes the responsibility of you being always aware of this fact.
In my business, I see thousands of different horses every year. Through this experience I fine tune my horsemanship skills today with EACH and EVERY horse. This is how I survive.
Understand that an animal weighing 5 to 10 times your weight, that can strike as fast as a snake, and can out run you, can hurt you and even kill you, but only if you allow it to.Back to all Travels With Doc T Blogs Back to all blogs