He knew exactly what to do to bolster a young horse’s confidence, was artful at patiently desensitizing for career demands and quick to take the lead when a tentative mount needed to be encouraged over or past something scary. He had an incredibly calming effect on any horse not only during training time, but also during vet emergencies.
Yes, horses are naturally flight animals (although our eight-year-old Thoroughbred farmhand Cowboy would beg to differ on this point), but there’s nothing natural about riding and the way horses are introduced to this activity – or treated as seasoned mounts – will affect how they handle each new request.
There’s something about that delightful moment when a horse transforms from a confused, dangerous or resistant combatant into a grateful peer. That awakening when he decides you’re a friend to be trusted, appreciated and part of a team is incredible.
Do you have stories to share of pain discoveries that have transformed your challenging horse into a willing partner? Please share.
Genetic wiring, prior experiences, personality styles and horse proclivities all play a role in designing an effective strategy to build a partnership with the horse. If you’re not keeping your horse in the conversation, you’re losing opportunities to bond on a much deeper level.
There’s something about kids and ponies that provide unparalleled learning experiences – or at least great fodder for future stories. Personally, I think the fears many adults instill in kids about the dangers of riding and the horror in falling may make it more dangerous for the child (and horse).
How much time do you spend pausing to consider an alternative path when things aren’t working with your horse? Even with this globally-connected satellite-driven tool it took at least five seconds to resolve confusion over a misdirected path. Funny, it never suggested a U-turn (even when I was headed in the wrong direction on exits – necessary coffee and associated bladder issues made these more numerous as the trip hit morning hours).
“Out of the quarrel with others we make rhetoric; out of the quarrel with ourselves we make poetry.” -William Butler Yeats, writer, Nobel laureate (1865-1939) Few seem to have mastered the activity of standing your ground without being combative when it comes to horses. Of course, being insistent isn’t even always appropriate, depending on the […]
There’s a big difference between a horse that doesn’t have a proper foundation and one that automatically comes toward you with pressure because it’s so deeply ingrained in their psyche. Rude behavior needs to be addressed very differently, but in these cases where the horse is responding honestly, you won’t get far if your tact is to ‘teach him respect.’
The next time you have “a failure to communicate” with your horse, consider what you may be doing to elicit the response you’re getting. Chances are, you’re creating the problem. And if you haven’t seen Cool Hand Luke, it’s worth the watch – and probably one of Paul Newman’s better performances. Might even teach you a thing or two about the power of effective (or ineffective) communications – which certainly pertains to how unreasonable demands can lead to a pugnacious – and sometimes tragic – reaction from your horse.