I want to talk about the attitude of “If I don’t win the horse will!” I remember when I felt this same way. Both the horses and I would be exhausted, sweaty and tired of each other at the end of our work sessions. I would absolutely dread going out to “work” my horses and I always had so many to work.
I would approach my horses with a bad attitude. I thought I knew what they would do and sure enough they did just what I expected! Fought me, got confused, fought me some more. I didn’t feel that I was ever abusive to any of my horses, but I also didn’t listen to them – which now that I know more – I would say is abusive. My horses did meet me at the gate when I went out to catch them, but that is only because they are such forgiving souls. When our sessions were over I rarely wondered how they felt about that session. Instead I was happy if I “won”.
I’m not sure I believe in a “Horse Whisperer”, but I do believe in a “Horse Listener”. One of the keys to having a good attitude with the horse is to listen to them. How do they feel? Are they frightened? Are they confused? Are they saying no to you because they don’t understand or they don’t feel like playing your game? And if they don’t feel like saying yes, what can you do to motivate them to say yes? If you listen to them these answers will be easier to find.
Having an attitude of justice both towards your horse and towards yourself will help you excel in your horsemanship.
The attitude is justice and to be just, you have to be assertive, be a causer and not a maker. You have to allow and not let. – Pat Parelli