Be solution orientated with the future in mind
The days are starting to get longer and sometimes we are lucky enough to have warmer weather. But spring is definitely on its way.
Our family has a new member, Buck, a Beagle.
At the beginning he found it difficult to get into the car. He was unconfident and didn’t really understand why this was necessary.
I noticed how when I wanted to pick him up he would push back, avoiding. So of course I stopped doing that and worked on his curiosity. On the third day, he just jumped in as if he had been doing it his whole life.
So I started thinking how this relates to the much bigger, powerful horse.
With little dogs, even slightly bigger ones, we can pick them up when things are not going well such as going out, get in cars etc. But the dog might still not be confident or want to do it at all. But because they are small, we can either pick them up or pull on them.
But the problem stays the same, it doesn’t get better because we don’t listen to what this little dog has to say.
Something I frequently see are little dogs, even Chihuahuas that are taking their owners for a walk. A little dog has enough strength to pull their owner around.
Something that I find very interesting.
So now lets take the horse. The horse is much bigger, so we cannot even pick it up, well maybe if you have a Falabella.
If a horse has no confidence and wants to leave e.g. prey-animal instinct, it will be much more difficult to deal or hold on to him. If a horse says no either because he doesn’t want to or because he can’t e.g. confidence, it will take a lot more to get him to a place where he can do it.
Horses, like dogs, can take their owner for a walk too. That can be on the ground or ridden. It may be that you haven’t even noticed. But if your horse takes you for a walk it’s often because we have lost control.
Alone because of the horse’s size and strength, it can scare people. And this is completely understandable because things can very easily get out of hand and become dangerous very quickly.
Those problems are not so easily missed even though they might be ignored. If you want those things to change or improve you need to do something about it. And that would be to help the horse either understand what you are looking for or first and foremost help him gain the confidence he needs.
But because we can not just pick up the horse or pull & push it around when things are not going well and we either don’t have the knowledge, willpower, time or money to solve and help the horse, we might use solutions that sound good, reasonable and easy because they will help us to get to where we want to be. This may be using stronger tools e.g. bits, spurs, whips etc. or lure the horse either into a trailer or when riding out, scare the horse to get things going, punishment, there are many more.
Those often are quick fix solutions that do not last very long, one because the horse is a master of survival and very smart- he will find another way or he becomes more shut down, avoiding things, seemingly fine but on the inside his world is looking very differently, which can lead to a more serious situation.
So in a way these solutions are just like picking up the dog or pulling him when he does not want to. Because we are still not listening to what is important to them at that moment in time.
I wonder if we choose those solutions because we don’t want to face our own truth, spend too much time because we need to get things done now, because we are scared to take a step back and feel possibility defeated, worried what others may be thinking and our own expectations.
And there is nothing wrong with those feelings, but be aware of them, explore them but remember that at the end of the line is another feeling being that may also feel worried.
For me the horse is my ultimate role model because the horse lives in the now, he deals with what he is feeling and then carries e.g. fear = run, hunger= eating. He doesn’t worry about those afterwards because he needs to stay in the now to make sure he is safe, he takes care of his needs.
We tend to hang on to feelings and worry about them, instead of dealing with them and moving on.
So find a solution that has a lasting effect. This may take a while, but the time you invest will be worth it.
We need to give the horse a chance to explore, gain experience and confidence, as well as give him a chance to show how he feel and for us to accept that and help him.
What I think is important to keep in mind, and because we can, is to always think how we need to work towards the bigger picture and not worry so much about the little things that are not going well and fixing them quickly which will damage the bigger picture. The bigger picture may be having a horse that has a solid foundation, that trusts you and will cross streams for you, being able to play at liberty in a big open field…..
So don’t loose what you have now to fix a little problem, which may create a bigger problem for you and your horse in the future.
You have the horse whole life in front of you, all of that time, all those opportunities.
If you would like some help or have any questions please get in contact with me.