The Horse: Valuing the Whole Experience

Decades ago I was an apprentice and working student at a variety of facilities in both North America and in the UK. 


At most facilities irrelevant of the main equestrian discipline, the trainers primarily focused only on the physical act of training the horse. As soon as a session was done, often the animal would be passed off to one of us interns. We would do all of the catching, tacking, feeding, wrapping, etc. and never did my Olympian or Internationally competitive "bosses" ever ask about the horse's mindset or emotions. The only thing that triggered questions from them was in regards to potential soundness issues with the horse. At the time I could tell there was a disconnect between the humans and horses, but I couldn't yet explain why it mattered. 

 Yes, dutiful care was given with feed, blanketing, poulticing, and board, but there was no recognition of the valuable "feedback" the horse offered based on his behaviors in his down time. 

 Fast forward to present day, and I can't imagine not seeing, often unintentionally observing, horses in for training while out on their own. 

Whether it is sleep patterns, herd behaviors, diet and nutrition, hoof growth, physical tendencies when they chew their feed/roll/climb up and down the water hill, etc., all of it offers me insight into the individual horse's mental, emotional and physical state which then influences what and how I address things in our "training sessions." 

 I also accept a limited number of training horses so that I can maintain a clarity and awareness and offer them each an appropriate, individualized learning opportunity. This allows for interaction and observation multiple times throughout the day and a variety of Conversations to unfold between us, creating mentally willing and physically adaptable horses.

Learning more about my approach by visiting my FB group HERE

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Sam

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