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Weaponizing Horsemanship "Tools"
"It" has been called a variety of names, has multiple different styles, and in the name of imitation without understanding, so many good intentioned horse people are using "it" in a destructive, aggressive, critical manner teaching the horse fear, flee, containment, and defensiveness.
It isn't Convenient
Resistant to being caught
Constantly pulling when led
Pulls back or gets stressed when tied
Always moving away when trying to tack up
Steps away when trying to mount
Walks off as soon as the rider is in the saddle
Is drifting, bracing, or anticipative when ridden
Takes "awhile" to load into the trailer
Might explode out during the trailer unloading
Is "buddy" or barn "sour"
Has the same "issue" with the same scary spot repeatedly
Offers dramatic behaviors when something unexpected arises
Paws, paces, cribs, weaves, wall kicks, bites while in his enclosure
Is aggressive towards other horses or at feed time
Etc., etc., etc.
Every single unwanted unfortunately common horse behavior above, is a symptom.
Most people try to band-aid the symptom by adding more pressure to the already fearful and defensive equine.
Then one unwanted behavior morphs into another because the root cause was never addressed.
The horse that is left living in a state of constant fear and anticipation because they are defensive toward human interaction leads to mental and physical trauma.
It isn't a matter of "if" they explode, get hurt, or injure the human, but when.
Please stop ignoring the subtle, reasonable behaviors the horse conveys reflecting his fear and defensiveness.
Please start prioritizing slowing down, breaking down the communication to offer short, specific, clear, supportive, and non-critical information that has meaning to the horse.
The horse is not trying to wreck your day, annoy you, psych you out, etc.
The only thing he is trying to do is find a safe space. If every time you show up you bring chaos, distraction, hurried behaviors, anticipation, and unclear communication, what are you teaching him?
To get the Change in the horse, first we must start with the Human.
Alternative Horsemanship with Samantha Harvey the Remote Horse Coach shares how dramatic and dangerous horse behavior is a symptom, how to recognize the initial subtle signs of fear, defensiveness, or anticipation in the equine, and why it matters to address it early, rather than ignoring it and creating the dangerous horse.
One of the greatest challenges I have is getting folks to switch from reactive to proactive behavior with their horse.
Final Full Immersion Horsemanship Clinic? *2 Participant Spots available
These safe, fun, and supportive learning opportunities offer an in-depth full immersion experience.
The Friday through Sunday clinics focus on Equine Behavior Assessment, Clear Communication & Effective Aids, Ground Work, and Riding.
We also cover a variety of topics such as equine physio, anatomical riding lectures, tack fit and appropriate usage, "finding a feel" exercises, group discussions, and much more!
Where: The Equestrian Center, LLC Sandpoint ID
When: August 5-7
Click this link for details, participant & auditor registration
How Your Thoughts Influence your Horsemanship
Somewhere in the course of people riding the interaction with the horse became compartmentalized into good and bad, right or wrong.
It comes from a place of human expectation (irrelevant of if it is appropriate or not,) which overshadows the interaction with continuous critical communication.
Approaching the horse as something to "make" comply, when the person's fixation is stuck on the agenda, they miss things like:
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Detrimental and hindering things the human often "brings" to a session with the horse...
Lack of Clarity
Lack of Awareness
What if the "equine experience" started with first honestly assessing oneself, so that we could be mentally present, emotionally calm, and physically balanced to refine the intention, specificity, and Quality of communication to have thoughtful, two-way Conversations with the horse, rather than screaming matches.
Containment: physically trying to "stop" an unwanted behavior, which is usually the symptom and not the underlying "issue."
4 Horsemanship Tips
Are you breathing?
When riders focus they tend to hold their breath. Talk. Tell your horse what you are doing (literally, it also helps you keep track.) Sing to him or whistle. Anything!
Reviewing The Release
As with everything, there are many interpretations when it comes to the terminology associated with horses. I try to be clear and precise in the words that I'm offering, but there still can be a gray area in the human student's understanding. This often comes from their level of awareness, background, and unintentional anticipation/expectation of their mind "getting ahead" of wherever they are currently at with their horse.
Definition of "Matter"- Something to be dealt with that needs consideration
Acknowledgement of the horse trying and searching for what is being asked of him Matters
The Equine's Feedback Matters
The Human having Empathy for what the horse is experiencing Matters
The Human addressing the horse in a manner that builds the animal's trust Matters
Every moment of the interaction Matters
Quality Commuication Matters
Photo Credit: Unknown