I do not address vices like biting, kicking or bucking if I can avoid it. Fighting with a horse does not help the bond and partnership and it can cause a horse to develop a bad attitude that then becomes a permanent part of his personality. It is better to focus on building a social bond and deal with the rudeness of the horse in a way that would build the bond and respect. Many of you may be shocked to learn what horses actually see as polite behavior and it is very much misunderstood. Building polite behavior in a horse would enhance the bond, build team-working skills and enhance a horse's natural instincts. When a horse is no longer rude, he sees you as family and you have a greater chance that he will want to follow your lead. The Waterhole Rituals will teach you when to lead, when to follow and when to pause. Observing the horse as he exhibits different behaviors from being willing to not being willing will guide you in the direction you need to take with him.
When people bond with their horses, often times the person does not realize that the horse is behaving rudely to them. Everything seems to be fine but a horse may not have unconditional respect for them. I develop unconditional respect using the Waterhole Rituals. The Rituals will also uncover the true nature of your horse and how he feels about you and you will learn more about horses and how to train them and develop their attitude to be willing, well adjusted and optimistic.
So what would constitutes rude behavior in a social interaction from the horse’s point of view that you might be overlooking?
Rudeness within the herd would be a horse that would not respect another horse’s personal space by leaving it when asked. Another rude behavior might look like not moving on when asked to move on. Or moving out of the way of a horse moving through and who needs the horse he is approaching to move out of the way. It could also look like a horse that enters another horse’s personal space without an invitation, or not paying attention to new personal boundary requirements of the horses around him. It is so simple really. I think we have similar etiquette in our own society. You will see this human etiquette in public places where people are on the move.
Horses spend a lot of time in social conduct in the spaces that they share with one another. It helps them to run at top speed as a herd in unity and helps them to make the right choices in what the next direction they need to go in and to follow the leader's direction. Horses are amazing creatures in how they work together and this is the working bond we want to reach.
In order to be more clear in whether or not you have an unconditional bond and respect you need from your horse, ask yourself if you could ask the horse to leave you alone and move away from you even when the horse feels a bond and wants to be very close. Without this ability, it is hard to train and dance with your horse at liberty safely. Especially when he gets excited and wants to confront you, which they will if you do not have some order worked out with them.
Ask yourself could I stop my horse’s approach if I had carrots in my hand and would he leave me alone? Could I ask him to leave the area and not come back so that he would not return? Could I ask him to move away from me quickly? Could I enter the horse’s space and ask him to leave and he would? If he can do that, he has respect for you and he is being polite and likes you. Exercising how to move around each other in a polite way is the key to a horse’s heart.
If you answered 'no' to many of those questions above, then you have a long way to go with the relationship with your horse and it is why you are experiencing some of the problems you are.
When you’re approaching your horse and want politeness you will need to listen to what he wants and not always what you want. Though you could ask him and if he wants to do what you are asking him to do you are in good shape! An example is: If he did not want the halter put on, you would not try to make him wear it. If he comes up to you, it means he will be more likely to be in the mood for his halter to be put on. You could also be more direct with him and he wouldn’t perceive you as being rude as long as he chooses to be with you. But when he leaves you from your demands, to be polite you must not persist or pursue. When you and your horse work out these details on what is rude and what is polite it grows the trust and bond. The biting, kicking, and bucking stops if you are gracious in how you choose to listen to your horse and lead the dance going forward with him in a way that resonates with the horse while keeping the bond and respect.
5 Top Tips to Developing Your Relationship
1) When should you allow or stop a certain behavior? The answer comes from asking yourself, "If I allow it, does it buy me a better partnership?” If it does, allow it. If it doesn’t, don’t allow it.
2) Experiment and work between allowing and not allowing and you will find the right balance.
3) Pause, lead, follow and respect your horse. It is up to you to keep your horses respect and if you do not, the respect will slip because that it is the nature of the horse.
4) To have a good working partnership with a horse you need to know when you can trust him, so keep working on evolving the seven strings of connection by practicing the Waterhole Rituals.
5) Remember balance. Sit with your horse doing nothing as long you do all of your other activities combined. It brings well-being to your horse.
I hope that helps and I look forward to hearing your comments as to how these questions have played or play out for you.