Well, there is still tons of snow on the ground and more on the way they say. I know, I know, I keep complaining about it… sorry.
A buddy of mine asked me yesterday if I knew what my horse was thinking. I thought now that’s a great question. Often at clinics or in private lessons someone will say. “I think my horse is thinking……..” and then they will tell me what they think their horse is thinking. I then will tell them that I have a hundred dollar bill in my pocket, and if they can tell me what I’m thinking I will give it to them. Well, they stop for a second, and then they look at me, and usually say that theirs no way they can do that. Here is my take. If you can’t tell what another human is thinking, and you are one, how in the world do you think you know what a horse is thinking.
Having said that, there are things that we know about horses in general. When teaching people how to be a leader in their herd of two, I remind them that a horse wants only two things in their world. Food and comfort, and a horse will go without food in order to be comfortable. Knowing these two things is powerful information, if we use it to teach our horses. As a matter of fact, it’s this knowledge that makes it possible for us to train our horses.
Horses have survived for a very long time on this planet because, for them, it’s all about surviving. So the first thing a horse thinks about, when frightened or worried, is run. That has served them well for a long time. Once they are at a distance that they feel safe, comfortable, they will stop and check to see what it was that scared them. Once they feel safe, they will go back to grazing. But he will run as long as he is scared, and will not worry about eating till he feels safe. This principle makes it possible to teach our horses, just about anything.
So knowing that our horses are more concerned with their survival then their comfort, makes it possible for us to teach them amazing things.
Kathy has a horse, Barz, that she can get him to back up just by wiggling her finger at him. For Barz, that wiggle of the finger is pressure, and he knows that the way to get away from that pressure is to back up, cause if he does, Kathy will stop wiggling it and tell him what a good boy he is. That has taken time to teach him this skill, but it was all done using the principle that we have been talking about.
To get my horses to walk, trot, canter turn right or left and or stop, are all accomplished using the principle that horses want comfort and they will look, hard, to find it. When they find the good place or comfort, and we reward that with leaving them alone, they will try harder and harder to get to that place before you apply any pressure, or very little pressure.
So bottom line. I can’t tell you what your horse is thinking anymore then I can tell you what your thinking. But because I know what’s important to your horse, I can teach him to accept you as his leader. But you still have to be the leader and that takes time. Coffee Time
Will try and keep you updated with info on what the heck I'm doing with horses and music.