The unity in movement in a herd is created by the subtle interactions that individual horses share with one another. Like with us, in our human culture, it is the little things in life that draws us to someone and repels us from others. Believe it or not, this is what brings harmony and unity to our own culture. It is the little things of working and living side by side with someone that builds an ability to develop a close working bond.
Dogs and cats live in our homes and get all the benefits of the subtleties in how to be with us, just like Apollo does with me. Horses do not get that chance to be that intimate with us. Because of this, horses do not see us as a family member. Not feeling like a family member, a horse views us with misgivings. In the interactions a horse experiences with us- he has no choice but to do as he is told. His feelings are hardly considered unless he makes a great fuss.
A horse is a captive slave by the performance we expect him to fulfill. Or, he can play the role of having to be the apple in someone’s eye- loved by a someone that he did not choose to have in his life. Can you imagine being married to someone that was crazy about you, and you had to put up with their affection when you cared nothing for them? Most horses feel this way about two leggeds. I see it all the time and this is proved out that when a horse gets loose, he will run away to join any horse over a two legged even a horse he did not like. That is what we are facing when we choose horses to be in our life. The horse did not come to our door and beg to be our friend, and because the horse did not choose us, we need to take time to develop his interest to bond with us like a dog and cat will do.
The Key to the Horse’s Heart and Mind How do we gain entrance into the heart and mind of your beloved horse? We do this by taking the time to share subtle interactions with them. This way a horse can get to know us better through subtle reciprocal movements.
Reciprocal movements are explained in my book Naked Liberty and how I came on to developing a bond and respect through Reciprocal Movements.
The definition of Reciprocal Movements is to make spontaneous choices in how you and your horse choose to move around each other in the same space together. When you choose to ask a horse to move out of your way, or by choosing when to move out of his way builds the relationship to what it is. Moving too much out of a horse’s way will create a bully, and asking him always to get out of your way will make him not want to be with you. But just the right amount of give and take on your part will create the bond and respect you are looking for. When I work with a horse, I am paying attention to this give and take all the time I am training him. You need to think about that in everything you do with your horse.
Leaders Wanted To win over a horse you must take on the leadership role because horses are herd animals and are wanting leadership. They naturally will follow a leader. They trust leadership and question dominant behavior. They are looking for a leader that will take care of them and allow their leadership to be shaped so they can thoroughly trust them.
Horses are followers, and two leggeds are leaders, allowing us to really connect for that reason and fill the needs of each other. But what we have to understand about leadership first is that you have to know how the horse wants to be led before you try leading him anywhere.
When I hang out with a horse in a field of grass or with the five piles of hay exercise I hang out with the horse sharing Reciprocal Movements around the small area with him. I make sure that I spend a certain amount of time in the pause right up close to where he is grazing, as well as time apart. I ask for the horse to move out of my way and will move out of his way as well. With this balance, I see the relationship, bond, and trust deepening..
May the Horse Be With You!