One of the biggest mistakes I see people make with their horses is trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.
My online programs, personal coaching, and private clinics are centered around helping you develop the horse of your dreams AND developing you into the person of your horse’s dreams. It’s a very good combination when done together and gets great results every time.
The combination of the two being developed simultaneously is “pushing the easy button”. My students hear me say this all the time. It’s my version of the saying, “work smarter, not harder”.
One of the first things I do with all of my personal coaching and private clinic students, even before they purchase one of my programs, is to make sure they and their horse are a good fit. The second thing is to see if they and their horse are a good fit for my approach to horsemanship.
But back to the first thing…are you and your horse a good fit for each other?
This answer is normally a quick “Yes” when you’ve taken the time to really look for the horse of your dreams before you purchase him or her. Because you’ve thought about what you want in a horse, breed, color, disposition, and abilities.
If you want to find a bay quarter horse that is sound and safe on trails, is an easy ride and low maintenance with a calm and quiet disposition, you should easily be able to find this. You know what you’re capable of and what you want in your horse.
I’m sure it would take you some time to research all the ads, go out and test ride multiple horses, and then find the one that “speaks” to you. But you would hopefully be able to find a horse that is a good fit for you.
Then you just need to learn how to connect, communicate, and cooperate together as a team, as partners. This is a lot easier when you have a horse that fits your wants and your personality.
The problems come in when you end up getting a horse that was given to you as a “project” or a hard to handle rescue horse. Or you didn’t do enough research or test ride the horse you purchased and now you realize the horse isn’t what it was billed as.
Here is Lynn’s story:
Lynn saw a horse online and fell in love with her pictures. She purchased this horse, sight unseen. She was advertised as “bomb-proof” and “perfect for beginners”. This was before Lynn and I had met.
When her new horse was delivered, she was happy that her mare looked the same as the pictures and seemed healthy. However, when she tacked up she noticed a bit of resistance. Then she got on her mare for the first time and luckily she did this in her arena.
She was so sure that her new horse would be a perfect fit for her as a beginner, she didn’t even think that there may be an issue. So, she was not prepared when her horse started to buck and threw her off immediately. She was ok, just scared.
Let me now tell you the mare’s name – El Diablo. That should have told her everything right there before she bought the horse.
She tried to get in touch with the seller, but to no avail. The contact information was no longer valid. That’s when she realized that she had been had and that the seller knew there were problems with this horse.
But she still loved this horse and thought it must be a back issue, or a pain problem, or a saddle problem, or, or, or. She had her vet out, a chiropractor out, and quite a few other professionals out who looked into any and all possible physical issues. She even had a saddle fitter come out and got the “perfect” saddle for her new mare.
She was at her wits end and still tried everything she could think of, even had a few trainers out thinking it was a personality problem. But it still persisted. Her mare threw everyone that got on her.
That’s when Lynn and I met. She decided that I was her last hope and her horse’s last hope. She had not found a solution and it had now been over 5 years of trying. Nothing had changed in 5 years despite all of her work trying.
That’s when she and I took the first step and talked about if her horse and her were a good fit. I know, you probably are already saying “No”. At the surface level, it was a no. And that’s what every other trainer told her, “it’s not a good fit, get rid of your horse and buy another”.
But here’s how I looked at it:
1. She wanted a safe, reliable, trail horse for herself (a beginner).
· But her horse was more advanced than a beginner, had no patience for a beginner, and was going to test everyone that got on to ride.
2. She wanted a horse that had a calm, gentle, and even docile nature. A horse that was either a follower or quiet and shy.
· But her horse was a leader who had a strong and fiery personality. Her horse wanted someone who was a good match for her.
So from those two aspects everyone was telling her it wasn’t a good fit and she was trying to put a square peg into a round hole, as they say.
But we went deeper than just the surface level:
3. She loved this horse very much and was not going to give up if she could help it. She desperately wanted to keep this horse and find a solution. Plus, she was not going to do anything that would hurt this horse if she could help it.
· Her horse, even though she would throw off anyone who rode her, wasn’t aggressive on the ground. She didn’t try to kick or bite anyone. Nor would she charge or attack Lynn.
4. When Lynn would ask her horse to step back, or move away from her when she had food, or even lead her around the property, she had no complaints.
· Her mare had no problems listening to her from the ground. And to top it off, her horse liked her!
So, emotionally they were a good fit. And when doing groundwork, they were a good fit.
That meant there was hope!
Well, long story short…
Her horse had been talking and even yelling at her. Then she became so upset or frustrated that by the time Lynn or anyone else tried to ride her, she threw them off. It didn’t start with Lynn though. She just happened to be the latest person in a line of frustration for this poor horse.
Her horse had had enough dealing with people she didn’t trust, that didn’t protect her. So, her willingness and cooperation with humans went down the drain. She was even afraid to connect with humans. Lynn was fighting an uphill battle from day one.
But we worked together, all three of us, and there was a happy ending. The core problem was that her horse didn’t feel heard. But Lynn was doing everything she felt her horse needed, but unfortunately she wasn’t listening to her horse. She didn’t know how.
But once she and I started working privately together with her horse, it all worked out beautifully.
They both learned to connect deeply with each other, communicate like two best friends, and cooperate like a well-oiled watch working perfectly in sync.
Her horse went from “El Diablo” to “Raven” and they both became a perfect match for the other.
It turned out it wasn’t a matter of trying to put a square peg into a round hole, but it was learning how to turn the square peg to allow it to fit into a square hole. It just needed a little tweaking.
So, don’t ever give up on your horse if it’s not working. But give me a call and let’s discuss if it really is a good fit or not. I’m sure we can find a solution that will make both you and your horse happy.
Until next week…Happy Horses!