I got an email the other day from a horse owner and lover that asked me how they could get more confidence when it comes to working with their horse. And that got me to thinking about that. They admitted to being a little afraid of their horse and wished that they could be more confident and less afraid. First let me say that there is a big difference between being afraid of a horse and, being respectful of a horse. Horses are huge animals, in most cases, that can hurt you and not mean it. So just their size demands respect. Fear on the other hand can prevent you from doing anything.
I think that the opposite of fear is confidence. Now the question is how do I get more confidence and less fear? I think that as you gain confidence fear will go away and be replaced with respect for the horse. So how do i get more confidence? Confidence, with horses, comes when we start to understand what horses need and give them that. I think that most folks that have horses give horses what THEY think they need and not what HORSES really need. Horses are not looking for a friend in the sense that we look for friends. Horses have survived for thousands of years, not because they made the other horses their friends, but because they focused on survival. And for them survival depended on, either being a good leader or having a good leader. One that would watch out for the best interest of the herd. Turns out that when the leader of the herd is looking out for the best interest of the herd he, or she, is looking out their best interest at the same time. So when you are watching a herd of horses, be it two or twenty, it don't take long to figure out which one is the leader.
So how do I become that for my horse, especially if I am nervous about working with my horse? You do what horses do. What's that you ask? Good question. The way that horses dominate one another is by making the subordinate horse or horses, move their feet. For example. If you put a pile of hay in the middle of the arena, in which there are a few horses, and lets say a subordinate horse gets to the pile first, what happens when the dominate horse comes to the pile of hay? Well, the dominate horse will pin his, or her, ears and the lesser horse will move off, move it's feet, away from the pile of hay to a safe distance and with his or her, turn to eat. If the lesser horse does not move what happens? The dom. horse will turn it's hind end to the other horse and will, strongly recommend that the lesser horse move. If that don't work he, or she, is going to get kicked, or bit.
Having said all of this, it's does not mean that you have to be mean or a bully. You just have to be more dominate then the horse that you are working with. Some horses are easy to get along with and don't mind you having a higher station in the herd. Other horses don't want to give up their place in the herd to someone, YOU, because they are not sure if you are a good leader or not, we have to prove that to them. How do we do that?
I teach exercises that you can work with your horse. These exercises do what horses do to horses. They get them to move their feet in the direction and speed that you, the leader, want. Every horse is a little different, but it usually does not take very long for a dominate horse to be willing to give up his place in the herd, as long as we continue to be good leaders. It takes time to accomplish this, but it's worth the time because, if you don't, you will always be nervous, afraid, around your horse and your horse is going to know it. I teach, what I call, trust exercises that teach your horse to trust you and they teach you that you can trust your horse.
I teach three principles of horsemanship that are so old that most folks have never heard of. Intuition, control, trust. You will never have trust in your horse if you can't control him, and, your horse will never trust you if you can't control YOU, your emotions, your body language. It takes the magic pill, TIME, to get this done but it is so worth it.
Remember, I'm here to help. So please never feel afraid to ask.
Will try and keep you updated with info on what the heck I'm doing with horses and music.