What do horse training and salmon have in common?


Do you ever feel like you’re swimming upstream against the current?

“To swim upstream. To go against or disagree with a prevailing or popularly held opinion or perspective; to act or behave contrary to the majority of others.”

Yeah, me too.

When I first started to go out on my own and do things my own way with my horses, I really felt alone. But I knew that I had to find a better way for my horses and me to work together, as partners.

I had gone to so many clinics and lots of trainers that told me I had to “take charge” and “control” my horse by using whips, harsh bits, punishment, and force. I just couldn’t force or hurt my horses and I wanted to figure out another way that trained with kindness, patience, and intelligence.

I experimented, using trial and error, and tried to develop a kinder, more organic way with horses. There were three basic assumptions that I used in order to gain an amazing bond, connection, and cooperation with my horses:

1. Spending a lot of time with my horses brings us closer
2. Horses are very intelligent
3. I always want to be kind, loving, and patient with my horses

The whole time I was developing my training program I felt like I was swimming upstream. It really amazed me how many people told me that horses were not intelligent, they wouldn’t listen to me unless I “forced” them to, and that I was being “too nice” to my horses.

Wow! How can you be too nice to your horse???

Anyway, I still kept following my heart and my dreams as I knew it was the right decision for me and my horses. Then I started teaching others what I had developed and they too saw amazing results and were very happy. I love helping others fulfill their dreams.

More and more people are now coming around to the same conclusions – that horses are intelligent and that training can be done with kindness and patience and still get great results.

Even though I felt alone in my thoughts, I found out that I wasn’t. It just wasn’t the popular belief at that time. There were others out there that were swimming upstream with me. There were others out there, and before me, who also felt that horses were intelligent, that spending time with your horse was important, and that kindness and patience does work.

Here is a wonderful story about Mr. Bill Key who not only believed in these ideas but proved them as true with his horse, Jim Key, at the turn of the last century. Bill Key definitely was swimming upstream by himself, but with his love of horses and his perseverance to do what he felt was right, he showed people how amazing horses can be.

Here is the story in a video …

I hope this story helps motivate you to follow your heart, do what you feel is right, and have the self-confidence to keep swimming upstream and follow your dreams. Even if you feel alone, know that there is someone out there who believes as you do.

When have you followed your dreams and what happened when you did?

I’d love to hear in the Comments below so do please share!


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  • Lois Shaw says:

    Thanks for posting this story. It was quite lovely and I really enjoyed it

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