Horse Problems- When things dont go as planned

Horse Problems- When things don't go as planned 

Some days everything may go as planned with the horse, and other days nothing does. My personality is to "will" things to happen; it has taken a lot of years and daily intention to realize that approach wasn't going to work when it came to my interactions with horses.

A personal challenge was learning how to eliminate self-imposed urgencies, to allow for unexpected interactions. An example would be when a horse that was close to what I call "the imaginary line"- with curiousity on one side, and past taught defensiveness and fear on the other. Learning how to encourage without trying to "make" him commit to a change in his old patterns of self preservation via unwanted behavior.

For me, the words "don't take it personal" come to mind. This is how decades ago I learned to interpret what I was seeing and experiencing with the horse as simply more information as to what he was mentally and emotionally experiencing, without "it" being about me.

People tend to ask, "How do I not take it personal if it is just my horse and I here?"

Unless you are one of the few folks who have had your horse(s) from the time it was born, you have not been part of the horse's education, experiences, etc. You don't really know how, when, or why things were done with your horse, or if there was quality during some, all, or none of his education. You don't know if there was a seemingly (to the human), non-traumatic event that your horse experienced creating long-term fear, distrust, or defensive behaviors.

You only know who the horse is that is standing in front of you today. If currently he is "telling" you that he is unsure, shut down, avoiding, tolerating, etc. in response towards whatever you are asking of him, view this as an opportunity to help the horse through his troubles.

They, whoever "they" are, say that you don't get do-overs in life. I actually find when it comes to the horse, because of their forgiving nature, you do. I've mentioned on numerous occasions I'm always amazed at how a majority of horses can recover from being shut down, trauma, fear, and stress if offered clear, specific support, and communication from the human.

You may not know the exact original cause of your horse's current unwanted behavior(s), but if instead of taking is as a personal rejection, judgement, or human associated emotion being projected by the horse, and instead with an empathetic approach help the horse learn how to reasonably first think through, then let go of emotional chaos and physical tension, unwanted behaviors will decrease.

The thought for today's post came as I was filming videos here in South America. The owners had a plan for filming, but the reality was different when I handled their horses and "asked" different questions of the equines. 

Most folks aren't even aware of the nuances and minor moments the horse is constantly communicating. Many equine behaviors are misunderstood, not recognized early enough, people are unsure of how to deal with them, or ofter how many manageable moments quickly escate into "big" events.

I gently remind folks that just because they are now aware of what they once weren't, beating oneself up mentally today, will not help either themselves or the horse. 

The best thing one can do is focus on sharpening new "tools" and skill sets to effectively communicate with the horse.

I encourage people to allow room for experimenting and "trial and error." Abilities, timing, coordination, awareness, decision making, etc. are going to be different for each person. 

There'll need to be time for asking, observing, and processing the feedback the horse offers, and learning from it. This knowledge "tells" the person what works and what doesn't.

Remember, wherever you and your horse are currently"at," is just fine. There are always Opportunities to improve, grow, and evolve with him. The more refinement is practiced, the increased enjoyability you'll experience along your Horsemanship journey.

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