Change is coming...
I can see the horse training world changing. The horse world is moving in the direction that it is unacceptable to be brutal with horses. Trainers are realising that with a considerate, respectful approach most horses will embrace what you ask them to do.
Is this enough?
you are a kind trainer
but something is still missing?
Let me help you understand what is missing
Picture this. You are married. Your partner has a clear vision of what they want. Whenever you discuss things, your partner presents a convincing case. Your partner is a kind person. They are never harsh with you, but at the same time not allowing of who you are. You don’t feel heard, but it’s easier for you to go along with them than it is to argue. Over time you stop presenting your side or opinion.
How do you feel? Diminished? Not important?
For me, it is not enough to have a horse softly and kindly doing what I ask. I need to feel desire from my horses. I need my horses to want to learn. I need to feel joy in my horses. If your approach is softly convincing your horse to do what you ask, over time your horse will become less communicative and loose the beauty of their movement. Softly convincing “conditioning” your horse can be done using gentle pressure, using treats and using devices like clickers. The word “conditioning” says it all. We are conditioning our horses to give us the desired response. We may do this in a kind way, but the result is the same – the horse isn’t with you because they want to learn, they are with you because the learning process is sensitive to, or controlled by its consequences.
Simply put, the horse is externally motivated.
They are not motivated from within and you can only feel joy from within.
Over time horses that are externally motivated lose their liveliness. I see it all the time, students say to me “he used to be prouder, his movement was beautiful, now he looks like he is going through the motions”. I come from the dressage world and we were always trying to get more from their movement but over time it seemed it was harder and harder to achieve. In the natural horsemanship world, many horses are so conditioned that they move like zombies.
So what is missing?
It’s simple. There is no conversation. The trainer is busy asking for what they want. The trainer is motivated by achieving their goals and the task at hand. They are not encouraging their horse to tell them how it feels. For most people who have a traditionally trained horse, they are concerned to have this conversation because they may not like the answer. Will their horse say no? Yes, it’s likely to begin with they will say no. But it is the truth and we can hide from the truth but it will always be there. This can be a hard hit on our egos and many people don’t have the humility to be able accept their answer. But remember, a “no” is not the end – in actual fact it is the beginning! It is the start of a conversation. It gives you the opportunity to listen and acknowledge what they have said and then ask another question.
Join me for some FREE training and let me show you how to create an incredible conversation with your horse!
I was inspired to write this after a very special session with our 2 year old Ribbleton Rolex. Rolex is only a baby, but watches the older horses and is always keen to try what they are doing. She has been trying to put her head in the bridle when I have it out, so today I said “ok, let’s give it a go”. Our conversation went back and forward with constant dialog. I would suggest she try something, she would give it a go and then I would stop and ask her how it felt. Sometimes she would lick me with a feeling of gratitude, other times she would stamp her foot asking for more and sometimes she would go a little internal and then block my next suggestion letting me know to slow down or not do that activity. Our session was to explore the feel of the bridle with flexion, bend, and the lengthening & shortening of her frame. My goal was not those exercises. My goal was to open up a conversation and the exercises were our tool to open up the dialog. After our session she was so very happy! I too felt great joy in her happiness. There truly is nothing like a horse that is motivated to learn. Take a moment to soak up her joy in these couple of minutes at the end of our session today. Paulette x
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let me show you how to realise your potential..
I'm Paulette Evans from Ribbleton Attunement. I live in Sydney, Australia with my family and beautiful herd of horses.
I'm here to guide you and your horse to open up a conversation in a way that will take you and your horse to the next level of connection.