What not to do raising a foal and how to develop respect
When a foal is born, he is born with all his instincts intact. But he can loose his instincts quickly by how he is treated by humans and even his own mother. He has a natural desire to stay with his mother when he is born. From his instincts and his mothers behavior, he learns very quickly that he needs to keep up with his mother rather that his mother keeping up with him. This helps his ego not to get out of control; it keeps his herding instincts developing.
One of the first lessons he learns from his mother is when it is alright to nurse and when it isn’t. This is a very valuable lesson. Right in the beginning he learns how to fit in and how to problem solve and work around his mothers needs. His mother can shape his attitude by teaching him that he can not always nurse when he wants to. He must learn to cope and listen to her wishes.
Learning how to fit in gives a foal an ability to learn new lessons easily. If a foal does not get to practice having to keep up and move out of the way of his mother, he becomes anti-social and unresponsive and looses a lot of his basic instincts. This kind of foal grows up to be aggressive or has no interest in learning because he has not had to make any adjustments in how to fit in with others. Humans, when raising a foal, tend to work around the foals’ needs by giving too much nurturing. By doing this, the instincts of the foal do not get a chance to mature and develop. The foal also gets the wrong idea in what the humans’ role is to them.
Just think about how it would be if you grew up on a deserted island and you were raised by house servants, without the influence of your parents or anyone else. These house servants indulged your every whim for a while and then at some point told you that you were no longer going to get your way all the time. And now the roles were changed and you were going to have to serve them as they had served you. You would feel put out. You would not tolerate the new deal. You would also feel that these servants had now turned into monsters and you would grow to hate them. You probably would not comply with their wishes and you would fight to have your way in all circumstances as you had become accustomed to. This is what it is like for a foal when we handle them like this.
From herding instincts, horses have a natural ability to influence one another from the act of herding. This develops harmony, order and deeper friendships. In a moving herd, the horses in the back are the ones that move the horses in front forward. The horses in front respond to going forward easily. This compliance to the horses in the back, herding, creates horses that are more willing and polite and less self serving. In nature all horses experience being herded by someone and from this act they become more willing and compliant. My ritual, Leading from Behind, is the practice of the herding response and this grows the instinct in the horse to be more willing and feel a sense of belonging which helps a shy horse feel more secure and an aggressive horse more willing.
Negative Human Influence
Horses can loose their instincts from human influence. This happens from the foal not getting enough practice in how to fit in with humans in the same way that he would practice this being with his mother and the herd. The human tries their best to fit in with the foal and that is when the foal becomes anti-social. When this happens, it causes some major problems in training the horse to ride. Once a horse will not respond to being influenced to move, riding him is very difficult. You can imagine how difficult the horse would be to train. Two things take place. One, if a horse will not respond to being driven forward, they have a tendency to buck and loose their willingness. Two, when a horse is asked to comply with your wishes, he feels threatened when the instincts are not being practiced.
Proper Social Interactions
Without experiencing proper social interactions a foal can become very difficult. As long as you meet the foals’ needs, they are easy to get along with and you can develop a bond with them. However, the problem is that when they do not get their way they quickly become aggressive and extremely so. This is what happens when the instincts have been removed from a horse by humans’ nurturing habit. The belief that all you need to do is love and nurture the foal and he will be grateful, sweet and you can ride him from a bonded trust is not going to happen, in most cases.
When bonding with a horse to keep the respect, attention must be given to keeping the instincts in place. He must learn how to give and take by your standards and not his own. It is a good idea that the foal learns that he can not always walk up to you, get his way or always be nurtured. When you raise a foal to understand these values it develops a very polite and happy horse that will have a desire to learn, perform and enjoys human companionship and can fit in with other horses.
Some people can have a tendency to nurture a horse too much and others can have a tendency to not care for the individual horse and can be too hostile. There must be a balance between nurturing and shaping behavior. Sometimes shaping the horses’ attitude is more important than nurturing and sometimes nurturing is more important. My method teaches people to know when to nurture and when to influence behavior. From the practice of the Waterhole Rituals you will learn how to communicate in a way that produces connection and willingness from your horse. You will develop your care-taking leadership. While practicing the Rituals you will bond more deeply with life. You will also learn how to support a horse in a much more functional and magical way.
There is such a thing as functional and dysfunctional loving behavior. My method teaches how to love a horse in a functional way and to bring the bond to a deeper level from the training of the horse. My method is the perfect school in learning how to create a horse that is more loyal to his owner and enjoys life and human interaction as much as he does with other horses.
Robin Gates Seminars
Robin Gates is having another wonderful seminar. It is an in-depth look into my method. If you want to learn more about my method this is were to start if you can not for some reason work directly with me. I would also suggest going to her seminar even if you are coming to me because it gives you another opportunity to learn more about the Water Hole Rituals. I can tell you that she is really an amazing teacher for students and a natural connector for horses. Her skills with horses are on the same level as mine. Robin and I will not be around for ever, so take advantage of the opportunity to learn my method that is all about horses, life, and the pursuit of happiness from the training of horses at liberty through the Waterhole Rituals.
Next Robin Gates Clinic – Ashland, Oregon May 18-20, 2012
To see all upcoming clinics check out the upcoming clinic page >>.
Here is a video that Robin just made that shows the connection you can gain when you have developed the bond through practicing the Waterhole Rituals. The Waterhole Rituals have all the elements in how to develop the character of a horse in the same way horses train horses without fences at liberty. Yes it takes time to learn the method and yes it is more rewarding that you can imagine! My method is as deep a subject as dressage. Therefore, it helps to be coached by different trainers to advance your skill.
When you watch the video pay close attention to how the horses respond to Robin with every fiber of their existence. Ears forward, ready to walk forward or pause; they are matching her movements like partners in an Argentine Tango. When Robin is letting the horses out into the larger field she chooses the ones she wants to go out first. She chooses the horses that are polite and then asks the aggressive behaving horses to pause. This way she has the ability to continue increasing the horses’ care taking nature. We must always manage these details. This is one of the jobs of being a leader. Because of her vigilance for polite behavior, her horses see that she will always take care of the weak and therefore is seen by her horses as a fair and just leader. Notice at the end, the expression of Djs eyes as he looks at Robin and asks for one more embrace before she invites him to eat on the lush green grass. It is not just about doing this or doing that, it is about a way of being with horses that comes from a deep heart felt connection. I learned how to bond deeply though these rituals that horses’ taught me from my years of studying how foals are raised in nature and how horses train other horses throughout their lives in natural herds.
Thank you Robin for your friendship and this wonderful gift of sharing my method with the world.
Playing The Field by Robin Gates
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