You do need to have a natural ability to communicate with animals but I believe that people who are drawn to my Method have this ability somewhere in them. If you have a desire to connect and especially if you are good with dogs and children or feel you would be. This reminds me of a story. A man came to my ranch and wanted me to teach him how to read a horse. I told him that he already knew how. I felt that this was the case because of how he was with his dogs during his visit. He rescued greyhounds, which he had brought with him and I had observed that they were well behaved and loved. He knew them as well as I knew my horses. He was their caretaking pack leader.
He told me that he could not read horses from what he had experienced with them. I believe this problem occured because he approached them differently than he did his dogs. With the dogs he wanted to give them a good life and maybe with the horses he expected the bond to be the same as he had with his dogs. He did not realize that he needed to start at the beginning in the same way he did with his dogs.
I think his problem with horses was that he had an agenda and it got in the way of his natural ability to allow the relationship to grow naturally. We got into a lively discussion. I told him that if he could not read a horse it was because he did not care enough. If he had rescued his horses, it would have helped him to allow the natural process of connection to evolve.
I believe that caring enough is all that is necessary. I do not know if this was right or not, but it was the stand I took in relating to him. We went around and around on the subject, and he paused for a moment and then said to me “You know, that horse you have been working with wants a carrot, and wants you to get back to the training, and hopes we are finished with our talk”.
He went on to say that he now understood that he could indeed read what a horse was thinking and admitted that he would not have said that before our talk. But he understood that I was right. Sometimes any little discussion will lead to a closer connection, as it did with us that day. We were in the moment and wanting to connect and we did. It is not always easy but so rewarding and the bond will deepen because it is the nature of nature to bring unity and harmony to partnerships.
You can be strong with a horse and the horse will forgive you easily, and you will not hurt the bond if the horse has free choice to accept or reject your behavior and leadership. This is a good lesson your horse can teach you.
The horse that is free to express himself can let you know if you are too strong or too boring. Or leading when you should be following or following when you should be leading. Intention and freedom and learning what to do at a certain time leads to a bond. This is the answer to working with horses. From trial and error in freedom, the bond is usually the outcome. Then, you will learn better when to lead, when to listen, when to pause and when to follow.
Be strong and be gentle and you will grow in your horsemanship skills, when freedom of choice is the condition a horse faces in his relationship with you.
In the beginning of the Waterhole Rituals, the rules are that if the horse leaves you, you must go in the opposite direction. You can ask your horse to leave your area any time you choose even if the horse doesn't want to leave. You may indeed hurt his feelings to do so but it will in fact serve to deepen the bond. This is natural to horses.
I hope this is of help for people who need to be stronger, softer or more creative in their choices.
P.S. Thank you so much for all your replies to my email about 'being my voice', it was very heart-warming and gratifying to see all the responses. I have therefore decided that I will indeed use one or two people to be my voice and Mark will be writing to you with some instructions for your 'audition'. I look forward to listening to them!