Supporting vs Challenging the Horse
People often ask "what kind of horse training do you do?" I say I work with people and horses.
In the traditional world of horses, not categorizing yourself meant that you didn't really know a whole lot about anything. Nowadays I find it quite ironic how many students I have that come from "specialized" trainers but are having major issues on fundamental basics with their horses and the specialized trainers are unable to help them through the situations other than forcing the horses into submission through fearful and aggressive tactics.
On any given day I'm working with Colts, rehabilitating the older horse, refining the trained cutting or roping horse, mellowing the endurance horse, improving confidence in the ranch horse, slowing down the jumping horse who rushes at fences, improving the dressage horse's self carriage, and so much more.... And the thing that I keep repeating is, " At the core, all horses are all the same."
First we need to treat, interact, and have partnerships with these animals as Horses, then the specialized focused can come into play.
But there are so many people who are so fixated on accomplishing "stuff" that in the end, whether it's through ego, bragging rights, unintentionally overfaced with goals or otherwise, the human doesn't realize that they are setting up the horse to fail in what they ask of them because they don't have the fundamental Basics nor effective tools to communicate with the horse in order to support him through the scenarios they present.
Nine out of 10 new horses I meet have no concept or good feeling about pressure, whether it's physical or spatial, and are often defensive towards the human. People often want to rush through the motions constantly putting the horse in a position of having to tolerate very stressful scenarios and then afterwards act surprised when the horse no longer can handle it emotionally or physically.
My goal is to teach people how to communicate without relying on the instructor and learn to recognize the horses mental and physical resistance and influence a change in his thoughts and physical Behavior so that the ideal outcome is accomplished without a fight or a tantrum or an emotional meltdown from the horse.
But that takes time, that takes effort, that takes Clarity and intention from the human, and it takes an openness that you may not accomplish what you set out to accomplish in that particular day.
If we spent more time supporting our horses through their troubled moments rather than challenging them through them, in the long run we would accomplish so much more without the drama and stress for either horse or human.