Empathy + Horses = Weakness
Unrealistic ego-based demands without having accountability as to how a person's clarity of thoughts and intention, quality of communication, adaptability in energy, accuracy of timing, and everyday mindless interactions, are constantly "teaching" horses unwanted responses that people then criticize and chastise the equine for.
Common complaints I hear:
The horse is "still" responding in an x, y, z unwanted manner.
The horse is getting more amped up and anticipative sooner during the ride.
Things the horse used to do "fine" he now resists.
Every time he passes x spot on the property, he always_______.
It feels like we have to keep starting over despite having practiced this many times.
Instead of criticizing the unwanted horse behavior...
What if we had empathy to recognize that the horse's "dramatic," resistant, or unwanted responses were pleas for clear, supportive communication?
What if we had empathy to recognize the horse's physical behaviors were reflecting his mental and emotional state?
Or that we learn to acknowledge that our past "training" approaches had not taught him the skills to think through, or time to physically work through whatever was being asked of him.
What if we recognized how often in the interaction we were abandoning the horse as we were mentally distracted, socializing, or emotionally triggered by the equine's behavior?
Learning and valuing cheching-in with the horse eliminates all "guessing" or "hopefulness" during the sessions.
The horse's responses to the check-in will often reflect the need for the human to slow down to assess and address all of the equine's initial (honest) indicators displaying his defensiveness towards their communication, which increases his anticipation, and then creates his physical tension and resistance.
Taking time to check-in is an empathetic behavior that gives crucial feedback to the human that offers information about the horse's mental, emotional, and physical state. This then "tells" the person what FIRST must be addressed to help the horse get mentally present, emotionally calm, and physically balanced BEFORE they ask him to do x, y, or z.