Thoughts that were shared on the Advent Calendar
The human’s responsibility to present/offer a feel to the horse in a way that is appropriate to his needs, level of sensitivity and understanding and ability is just as important as how the horse perceived and received that feel and his answer and level of responsiveness
Whenever you are with a horse, you are communicating
- through body language, feel, touch and energy.
This starts as soon as you see the horse, no matter the distance,
until you leave the horse.
It’s doesn’t take much to make or lose connection.
A purpose will give you intention.
Intention will give your horse a purpose.
But too much intention can put too much pressure on your horse.
Don’t lose the intention but ease on the mental pressure
The horse is always right, don’t’ judge him for making a decision.
Use the information for your own good.
The horse is not in a rush, he doesn’t need to be at a place at a certain time or achieve something.
But the human has a schedule, he needs to be somewhere or achieve something within a certain amount of time.
This can get in the way when teaching the horse something.
The human’s sense of time and needs to achieve something creates more pressure and will not lead to the horse learning anything faster.
It will take the time that is required by the horse, so no need to hurry.
The horse always tries to show how he feels, whether we see it or not, he is trying to communicate.
Sometimes the horse has to become quite extreme to show how he feels.
The human may misunderstand, blame the horse so he doesn’t have to find the reason within himself, because it is taken personally.
It shouldn’t be any different when we are in a human relationship- you allow your partner to share his feelings, you don’t just keep him quiet.
We only spend a few hours, out of the 24 hours a day, with our horse.
Try to make that time with him worthwhile, as much as it is for you.
What does your horse get out of that time he spends with you?
Imagine doing a job you don’t like very much. An hour probably feels like 10 hours.
And now imagine doing a job you love doing- time just flies by and you look forward to the next day.
How often do you spend time with your horse just doing nothing?
Expecting nothing of your horse, just enjoying his company.
Doing nothing with your horse is just as valuable as doing something.
Plans and goals are important for us. It gives us a focus and a sense of achievement.
This can lead to us becoming too focused on the goal and forgetting the importance of the relationship we have with our horses.
We need to be flexible, without forgetting the goal, by putting our horses needs before our goals and needs.
Sometimes we do not see the smallest of changes we and our horses have made,
feeling a lack of improvement.
It can be useful to make notes or take photos or film each session. This will allow you to compare each session and observing the changes over a certain period.
Even a 1% improvement is an improvement and over days, weeks and years, this
1% improvement will look more like a 100% improvement.
A horse has two sides, a left and a right.
Often we are taught to lead, mount, saddle and bridle the horse from a certain side. And also in our daily life we do things from the same side such as driving, writing, brushing teeth etc.
A horse will have a different level of confidence, trust and sensitivity on each side. It’s crucial to do everything from both sides, to ensure the horse is as equal as possible on each side.
Of course it is much more convenient to always do everything from the same side, but not for the horse
It’s not always about what the horse can do but what it means to him. It looks fancy when a horse can stand on a pedestal- often it is compared with a circus trick. But the horse has to go out of his way – prey animal instinct, to be able to do it with confidence. Obstacles can be used to help the horse build confidence, trust and understanding, which will make it easier for the horse to deal with situations such as loading.
Think of how little, rather than how much, you have to do for your horse to try.
A horse can feel the lightest touch e.g. a fly.
Could you get your horse to try by just a thought?
If somebody asked you :“Was your horse good today?”, how would you define good?
Everyone will probably have a different definition of good.
And every “good” will be different for each horse.
Every horse will have a “good”, but it should be measure on his ability and nature as well as process and stage.
We want to establish mental, emotional and physical fitness, both in horses and humans.
Often physical difficulties can cause mental or emotional problems, which are not the actual issue.
Ensure physical issues are taken care of and managed, before trying to establish better mental and emotional fitness.
Horses are long, humans are tall.
This makes it more difficult for us to communicate with the horse especially to communicate to specific body parts from different distances.
Often we use tools that do not help us to be longer.
Instead of using a short rope, which doesn’t only restrict us but also the horse, use longer ropes e.g. 12ft. Sticks with strings can act as an extension of our arms.
How do you feel when someone is not sure about e.g. where you have to go or what you have to do?
It’s part of any learning process to be unsure or even confused about something.
Unless we try to understand more about it, it will not improve.
This also relates to the horse.
If we are teaching the horse something new or exploring something new and we do not understand what we are supposed to do or are unsure, the horse will not be sure about it either.
Because we will not have that certain certainty about how we present it.
If you are not sure, do not expect your horse to understand what you are expecting.
Horses can cause us to feel many different kinds of feelings. Some can be happy and positive others may be frustration and emotional.
Remember not to blame the horse for your feelings, instead explore where those feelings might be coming from.
Often there is a deeper and more rooted cause, the horse is just acting as a trigger.
Do not just focus on the part when you are teaching, exercising etc. your horse.
Take the time to prepare your horse (Catching, brushing, saddling, warming up)- it will influence his view on the session.
Take the time to finish a session- it will influence his view on the next session.
Playing at liberty with a horse is magical.
It is the icing on a cake.
But it takes many different ingredients to make a cake.
Some of which can be part of our daily routine.
Leading the horse with a slack in the rope
Moving the forehand/hindquarters when brushing & saddling
The better you can handle your horse with a rope, the better the rapport, the better the communication, the better the connection.
The more successful your horse will feel when liberty is introduced.
Think of having a bank, your horse.
You always want to make sure that you stay in the +.
Quality time, taking care of the horse’s confidence and rapport.
Take care of it.
So when it comes to it one day, you will be able to take some out of the bank, without going into the -.
Never forget why you seek the partnership with a horse.
Never give up on your dreams.
Anything is possible once horses and humans truly become one.