But today I want to talk about something I've noticed over the years. Horses that come in for starting, re-educating, or refinement in their training are at various levels of exposure, confidence, and experience. They come from all over the country and are of many different breeds.
I believe socialization, freedom of movement, exposure to natural elements, and wildlife are important aspects of their education. They are kept in wooded area pastures at night and during the day are allowed to graze in herds in open grass fields.
I often joke I'm a grounds maintenance keeper and work with horses "on the side." I like to keep things neat and tidy and spend hours trying to keep up with the facility. So I notice things, like WHERE the horses poop.
Over the years I've realized there is a commensurate "evolution" in where horses decide to pass manure when they are out grazing during the day time in relation to their training.
In the beginning soon after they arrive, they poop wherever they may be grazing at the moment. As their mental availability and thoughtfulness starts to increase in our sessions together, they start to intentionally move closer to places where manure has been passed in the past. Then as they become more available and willing in "trying" and "searching" during their interactions with me, they start to consistently walk to a specific place to pass manure when grazing, in the same place, each day.
Even with me cleaning up manure daily, they will return to nearly the identical spot to relieve themselves, whether or not other horses have passed manure there recently.
I find the more mentally quiet and emotionally relaxed a horse is, the cleaner they are in where they decide to intentionally poop. If I hadn't noticed this consistently happening over the years with so many horses, I would have categorized the individual horse as a "messy" or clean horse.
But upon closer intentional observations, I have concluded that it, just as with all things horses do, is not an accident. It is yet another reflection of how their interaction with the human affects what their mental and emotional state is when they are on their own.
Alternative Horsemanship with Samantha Harvey Remote Horse Coach shares a moment captured impromptu on the farm. In this unrehearsed video she shares what Conversation with the horse... or five... can be like. Learn more about the "Reading the Horse" Online Course HERE
*What do you see?
*Where are your thoughts?
*When do you get distracted?
*When do you rush?
*When do you avoid?
*When do you anticipate?
*When do you become "hopeful?"
*When do you critique?
*When do you quit?
We are all human and we're not always 100% mentally and emotionally present even if we are physically standing next to or interacting with the horse. It takes effort to have an intentional awareness to learn to change our own patterns in our thoughts and behaviors, but first, we must become aware of what they even are!
So whether you think back to past events with your horse or the next time you head out to spend time with him, start to slow down and ask yourself the above questions.
This isn't about self-critique, but it helps to break down the excessive "chaos" you may be bringing to the time spent with your horse.
Valuing where your own thoughts are will help you understand your own physical responses to your horse. The more you allow yourself to slow down your thinking, the increase in "time" you'll experience to sort out your options in specific communication offered to the horse.
This takes effort, intention, honesty within yourself, and practice. It helps to peel back the layers of "stuff" that often convolute the human ability to "see" the horse without critique and judgment.
Reminder... "Reading the Horse" online course is starting in June! https://bit.ly/horsecourseonline
You can enjoy a brief video clip here
This builds unintentional mindlessness in the human and the horse or "autopilot" responses between the two. If this is the case, the human may miss when potential concerns begin to build in the animal until "all of a sudden..." he does something and it totally surprises the human.
In other cases, the person may see what the horse is physically doing, but not put value to the behavior or recognize the connection in what is currently happening to where it may lead in future actions of the horse.
Often folks are also hopeful. People will "wait" until the horse is committed to an unwanted response and then attempt to intervene at his peak concern. What the human may not have realized is that their initial pause or delay in communication with the horse has taught him that he is "on his own" in a stressful situation. The problem is this consistently, (often unintentional) unsupportive response from the person, teaches the horse that when concerning moments arise, he needs to fend for himself. As he does so, it can create an overwhelming feeling in the handler or rider.
So remember even the seemingly most "mundane" interactions are teaching and conversation opportunities between humans and horses. If folks prioritized quality interaction with their horse during these times, they would be diffusing and diminishing potentially dramatic and dangerous ones in the future, without even realizing it.
Keep in mind horses do not one day randomly become "trained" or reasonable. Even with a horse that has had years of training, someone can "undo" the training depending on how they interact.
Every moment the horse spends time with a human is a continuous learning opportunity. The person can teach the horse either desired or undesirable responses depending on their approach.
What has the quality of your conversations with the horse been lately?
*Seven Horses * Seven Days *Seventeen Minute Sessions
Alternative Horsemanship with Samantha Harvey: Remote Horse Coach
May 17-23, 2020
Who: All horse folks wanting to learn to recognize and read the horse’s body language and behavior in order to learn how to work towards creating a respectful and fulfilling equine partnership.
Why should I take this course? Many horse enthusiasts truly want the best for their horse. As with everything, there can be a steep learning curve, irrelevant of how many years that you have been around horses. Every horse has something new to teach us. As a client of mine once said, “You don’t know what you don’t know.”
Ask yourself the following questions- Do you:
Struggle with the “same” issue(s) with your horse?
Feel overwhelmed by your horse’s behavior?
Want to help your horse become more confident?
Feel like your training has reached a plateau?
Experience your horse resisting your requests?
Feel like your horse ignores your communication?
Have a horse that is a “hard” keeper?
Have a horse that has “issues” with every day handling such as with the farrier, vet, trailer loading, catching, tacking, mounting, riding out, or?
Have a horse that is really great, except for _____?
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I had a horse... one of those "I didn't mean to acquire him" types... one of those the hoarding breeder got out of control and ran out of money with a bunch of malnourished pregnant mares... one of those orphaned colts as a consequence. I tried to say no... but Pico wound up with me. He was Curious. Not the most confident nor athletic with his clubbed foot, but he sure did keep everyone entertained.
|A horse that is curious about training...|
- How functional were/are you?
- Were/are you in a frame of mind to learn something new?
- How was/is your patience levels?
- How long could/can you focus?
- Could you/can you physically stay still, get comfortable, or relaxed?
With current world events, I've been doing a lot of Remote Horse Coaching. For folks that have access to their horses, one of the "spring" themes seems to be horses that were going "fine" and then "randomly" or suddenly started stopping, where they abruptly quit moving forward, either when led or ridden.