I have had the privilege of working with lots of horses in my time, and I have worked with some horses that were very challenging. I have worked with horses that wanted to kill me, literally. They had gotten away with so much and had come to view the human or their owners as being of no value. It’s these extreme horses I wanted to talk about this morning.
I call them extreme only because their owners or other trainers have not been able to get them where they wanted them. We all, if we could, would take the easy way, me too, but horses only know one way and that’s the way they have been taught, either by an owner, a trainer or their herd. Some horses have come to me straight from the herd who could not have been more different then the other horses in their herd. How does that happen? I don’t have a clue to tell you the truth. But I think is very similar to children from the same family. I know of families where you would not believe that these kids came from the same parents. They have the same mother and father, they were raised the same way, they had similar experiences in life, but they could not be different. Even if they look like brothers and sisters. So when it comes to horses it don’t matter, to me, why they are the way they are. My job is to help them get along in the world of humans. This is often the biggest challenge because we want to treat them like they are pets and they are not. If your horse does not know his or her place in your herd something bad is going to happen. It’s not if, but when.
What this means is, if we are going to have horses, we have to give them what they need. Often, I find that most people don’t have a clue what a horse needs. When I ask folks this question they, almost all the time, give me the same answer: They need food and shelter and love. All of these things are true, but they miss the most important thing that horses need. A LEADER! Horses will spend the rest of their lives making sure they have a leader and making sure that, that leader is a good one. If in time, for whatever reason the leader fails, gets old, gets hurt or does not do a good job, he or she is OUT, and the herd will find another one. See, it’s not about being friends or buddies, or in love. It’s all about surviving for them. You can call it what you want, good or bad, but it just is the way it is, and unless we, as owner understand that, we are not giving the horse what he or she wants and more importantly, what they NEED.
The real question is: How do I become a good leader? You will be surprised at the answer. But first Coffee!
Will try and keep you updated with info on what the heck I'm doing with horses and music.