Horse ownership can be a bit like religion.
Lately I’ve been witness to some interesting behavior. When a person disagrees with something I’ve shared about my horsemanship journey, they do so vehemently and with great passion. In doing so, they will very often turn me off to whatever style of horsemanship they are trying to sell, because of their unwillingness to be open minded.
I see this in nearly all aspects of horse ownership, feeding, training, hoof care, pasture management, saddle fit, bit-less versus bitted bridles, classical dressage versus modern dressage. I could go on and on.
I am comparing this to religion because very often when someone thinks you are on the wrong path they will do whatever they can to try to move you. Very often for me, this has looked like belittling, shaming and blaming. None of which will convince me that your religion is better than mine.
I follow a group on Facebook that really does have the best interest of the horse in their hearts. Now if they could just treat each and every person in that group the same way I think more could be accomplished.
I find it interesting that if they are unable to attain the kind of relationship with their horse that they desire, they decide that those people that have attained it are doing so without the best interest of the horse at heart. For example, to say that those people who are able to have their horse at liberty in large open areas and keep a wonderful, light and beautiful connection are doing so only because their horse is completely shut down and a robot is simply not fair. People I know that have accomplished this, have done so after years of hard work (on themselves) and earning the trust and confidence of their horse. This is done by spending 100’s and 1000’s of hours with the horse. It’s not something that can be accomplished through wishing alone.
Heading out to your horse with a kind heart and the best intentions will not always win your horse’s heart. It’s a step in the right direction.
Winning the horse’s heart comes from understanding what is important to your horse and honoring your horse’s feelings and desires. If you can do this with an open heart and mind great things can be accomplished.
To be able to play with a horse at liberty in a large, open area is the ultimate test of the relationship. If the horse is not confident or trusting it will simply leave.
Why is it that horse people feel there is only one answer to every problem? Horses are not static. They are thinking and feeling beings with bodies made up of the same matter that we are made of, atoms. Our bodies are in constant, swirling motion, growing and changing. Our horses are also in constant movement, changing and growing.
It’s my belief that I can always learn something from everyone – even if I’m learning what I do not want to do. I practice keeping an open mind and listen to other people’s opinions. If I don’t agree I just move on. In this way I find many different ways to approach the different things that crop up in my journey. One thing I have learned is that all I can do is offer my thoughts and then walk away. If someone does not agree there is absolutely nothing I can do to force them to think they way I do. I am just searching for that same kind of treatment.