If this is your first time reading my blog about training horses at liberty, I want to give you a very warm welcome. I want to fill you in on what today’s blog post is about. This blog post is a continuation that started two weeks ago. If you start at the beginning, you will know what I am referring to in today’s entry.
It is that time of year again and I am delighted to offer our special Valentine’s Day Coaching Call, Tuesday February 14th, 2012 where the topics will be:
“How to Make a True Heart Connection with Your Horse: Which comes first Respect or Love? Discussion: What 10 things are on your Horse’s Bucket List?”
The format for our call will be a short introductory piece and some coaching from me followed by an open question and answer session. Please bring your HORSE’S BUCKET LIST as we’ll be sharing our lists with each other on the call. A Bucket List is a list of things your horse would like to do or things your horse would like to have – like my horse wants a never ending pail of grain – he would be very happy with that!
I found a pattern of behavior and response to behavior that creates the dance of connection to all things. The Waterhole method uses a pattern of conduct that leads to harmony and unity. I personally believe that understanding this pattern can help with human relationships by knowing where to put your attention in the relationship to create, restore and evolve the bond.
When a horse feels a bond in the moment, he will naturally follow your lead. They are herd animals; even the leaders want to follow if they have a connection with you that they would like to maintain. It’s easy to develop a lead horse to want to stay connected to you. It is natural for humans to want to lead, and being loved by the ones we lead would be the perfect scenario for us. Letting nature take its course fulfills both these needs of horses and humans. Nature always leads us back to harmony if we connect with things as they are and allow ourselves to be directed by nature.
Until you have been shaped by horses you have learned nothing
I can see that Kai has been influenced and shaped by horses. The way Kai Mattern is with horses is the very thing I like about him. I love the way Kai describes a horse; he is very gifted in reading behavior and explaining what he sees in detail.
From my experience with Kai, I can tell you he is an optimistic horse trainer. Kai has the right feel. How you feel about a horse is important to the horse; it can play a great part in a horse’s response to his training. Having the right outlook also helps in making the right decisions in how to train a horse. In Maestro´s case, Kai had the right outlook in how to handle Maestro’s resistance and ‘wild-kite-flying’ outbursts.
Kai is interested in learning all my method, leading to a finished dressage horse and bridleless riding. I am now coaching him on the phone in dressage lessons. We are both doing well. Kai understands me easily and I am getting the results from his dressage horse project that I am wanting. My focus is coaching Kai on how to get the appropriate energy in his warmblood Marco, so Marco can follow his lead effortlessly, easily and joyfully. I am helping him to find that place in true harmony and to bring out an eagerness in this horse to dance as one with Kai.
Is there a gift in loving Resistance?
When you are in harmony and at home with the wild spirit of a horse, your own spirit is called out to dance. Kai is gifted in training horses because he has patience and probably enjoys a horse’s out-of-control wild resistance. It comes from his years of enjoying wild surf. The chaos in wild surf can be like the wild free spirit of a horse.
Kai has had many years of developing his instinctual skills and working with nature rather than against nature through surfing and kayaking. Knowing how to work with nature really helps you connect with a horse. For this reason I developed my method of Liberty Training, so people have no choice but to work with the nature of the horse and how the horse is feeling in the moment rather than to confine the horse’s freedom. Working a horse at liberty causes you to focus more on building the relationship than the performance.
Kai has plenty of experience adjusting himself to the rapidly-changing conditions that wild water creates. I can see that Kai has no fear. There are all kinds of reasons a person does not have fear. Some might be from not understanding the consequences; others have no fear from a desire for the battle; but Kai has no fear because he loves the way a horse is, however he is. In love there is no fear.
Kai has also successfully trained his own extreme horse to be so light he can ride at liberty in many precision dances, bareback. The quality that I most enjoy about Kai is his love of horses. There are all kinds of ways to love a horse and the way Kai loves a horse is intelligent and nurturing. When Kai came to my ranch we did not know each other and when he got here we connected right away. It was meant to be.
Our commonality, I believe, is that we love horses in a similar way. I think we both like the resistance a horse shows because it is so much fun bringing the horse to a bonded trust and knowing we can. When a horse gives up resistance from his free will, not being pushed to do so, we are aware that a great wild spirit has chosen us and it feels like an honor. The resistance a horse offers builds our respect for who he is as an individual. I believe that Kai would agree that we both share an unconditional love for horses and the extreme horses even a little more.
Is it love and then respect or is it respect and then love? That is the question. Which comes first?
I was watching Oprah on TV as she interviewed New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. He spoke on the subject of respect, regarding something his mother shared with him on the subject. She asked him, “Which would you choose first to develop in a relationship, love or respect?” His mother said, “You need to choose respect first; love can grow out of respect. But without respect, love fades.” (I am paraphrasing.)
What I know is true working with horses is that developing a bond without respect causes a horse to lose all interest in following your lead, as well as to lose an interest in the dance you would like to share with him. I have found that in training a horse, it is best to go back and forth between building love and respect. But the bond needs to come first, not the respect. If respect comes first without the bond, a horse will leave you to be with any horse, even a horse he does not care about. You and the horse need to work together as the relationship evolves.
Kai´s first lesson leading Maestro
The lesson I gave Kai was to show him the power that exists from your approach to handling a horse that is out of control and resistant, with an agenda to follow his instincts. The power of control comes from changing your course when you are leading your horse in the moment you feel resistance or at the moment you feel a loss of connection. Knowing this, there is no reason to get into a fight with a horse. When Kai was leading Maestro, I coached him through every step Maestro took.
I have found that this particular lesson is so valuable to anyone who has an extreme horse. I chose this to be Kai’s first lesson with me because he loves working with extreme horses and wants to learn more in how to gain their trust.
This simple lesson I gave him will give him a lot of knowledge in how to handle many different events regarding extreme horses. This simple way of handling extreme horses has worked so well that in the first session I can get order in a calm way. In the same session, I can get a horse to court me to continue our journey, going forward in a way that is more harmonious than you would experience with a normal horse. To achieve this ability takes time to practice and being coached by me. This way of handling an out-of-control horse gets rid of jerking on a horse’s head and jerking a horse with a chain under the jaw. My dad taught me the method I use today and he did not know he did, either; or maybe he did??!!
It is a great story but I will save it for a later time. Stay tuned, grab your popcorn! The story is very surprising; at least it was for me. It is a story from my life with my Dad with our horses. To be continued…
Remember to watch out for more new horse and human sightings and may the horse be with you.
To all my students from online classes or phone coaching we do hope you will join us in March: