Horses and humans are both social by nature, the difference is that horses are looking for well being through sharing the moment in companionship more than humans these days. It is a true magnetic draw that horses have for certain people, but it appears that the human is not wanting to connect with the horse as much as they want the horse to perform some act that they think is desirable. Maybe the horse does not want to be ridden or competed on. An example of dysfunctional expectations would be if someone expected to train a rock to jump over a fence. Rocks can be trained, and I happen to have an exceptionally well trained rock. My secret to well trained rocks is that I don’t ask them to do something that is out of their ability. A rock can’t jump - but if I play my cards right, it can become a great paperweight!
Some people are so performance oriented that they measure the depth of a horse’s love for them by how well their horse performs. Few people get a horse just to enjoy its friendship. Often the person will only bond to a horse that they can control through intimidation. Horses are naturally attracted to humans but learn very fast that humans are driven to make them do things they do not want to do and need to be in control every minute. But still horses will forgive humans! For that reason you must be careful to watch how a horse feels about his training because a horse will put up with a lot when pushed.
It would be odd at a horse show to see a horse refuse a jump and a trainer saying “that is ok, don’t worry you did the best job you could. I know that it is my fault that you refused that fence,” but it is a much more productive way to school a horse to get a top performance. To force a horse and win is not a marriage built on a horse’s desire to perform. If you want to do your horse and yourself a favor, you will not measure how much your horse likes you and trusts you by his performance and compliance. I think a person must fall in love with a horse the way he is before training and completely accept him even if he does not train up like you thing he should in order to be a good trainer.
The world of horses is not about being controlling or un-controlling. It is about the connection and bond. It is about knowing how to have companionship and how to suggest, support, lead, direct, and follow. You need to know how to create a routine and change the routine so that it would keep enhancing the horse’s life experience through out his training.
Sunday when I went down to feed Marilyn all the horses came to greet me because I usually do not go to the horses on Sunday and they were pleased to see me. I could feel it and this is the reason I have horses in my life. The dance is great, it keeps me young, life is thrilling, and I learn things about myself everyday! When a horse connects with me because of my presence alone we are both complete- and no one had to perform anything!
Have a wonderful weekend, Carolyn