This is a continuation of the blog story from the last 2 weeks, so if you haven’t read those choose one of the links below first…
In the last part of the story, I had finally regained the use of my legs and had gone back to my old study books to try and discover a more compassionate way of training.
This had all gone well but now 2 challenges lay ahead – 1 that excited me and 1 that I was very nervous about!
That first ride…
When it came to the first ride with Jazz, I was excited to find out how our new relationship would translate in the saddle.
I mean, I had ridden Jazz hundreds of times before that they were all before the accident so it really was a journey into the unknown for both of us.
How would he react with a somewhat handicapped rider?
How would I be able to handle his Western-style changes of direction and slides?
I needn’t have worried though, Jazz was the perfect gentleman and as the ride went on we both became more confident in what we could do together.
As we got towards the end of our ride, I decided to take the brakes off and let him really fly.
You know that feeling of exhilaration and adrenaline when the rollercoaster suddenly drops?
That’s how it felt when Jazz took off!
Words simply cannot do justice to the thrill of it, it was truly magical. Even now, I get goosebumps just thinking about it.
After the months I’d spent on his back, we were totally in sync with each other and our movement together was unbelievable.
We were 2 hearts truly beating as 1, it was how I had always dreamt it could be.
That was the first time I understood what true connection really is.
The time we had spent together was like a magic key that had unlocked levels of trust, respect and love beyond anything I had experienced before.
Jazz and Apollo, along with the horses next door, had taught me far more about horse relationships than all the training manuals I had gathering dust on my shelves at home ever did.
My horses had allowed me into their world and helped me understand it.
The months we spent together with no agenda transformed our relationship and it can do the same for you too if you give you and your horse the gift of time and patience.
But a dark cloud loomed…
While I was ecstatic about the transformation in my relationship with Jazz and Apollo, I was still concerned as we were due a visit from the farrier which neither of them were too keen on.
If they reacted to him the same way they had the last time he’d visited, we’d be in for a traumatic afternoon.
But I needn’t have worried because Jazz and Apollo were like pussycats with him. He couldn’t believe their transformation and told me that he’d never seen such calm horses before.
This wouldn’t have been possible without the solid foundation we had built together as a herd during the long months of my convalescense.
So if you’ve been struggling with issues such as:
- Nervousness and spooking
- Pushiness and nipping
- Bucking and bolting
- Boredom and lack of interest
Then please understand…
It’s not your horse’s fault
Fight, flight or freeze issues are just your horse’s natural reaction to threats.
You see, the time horses spend with each other is fundamental to their feelings of safety. As prey animals, they seek refuge in the herd as they are literally looking out for each other.
What this translates to for you is… the more ‘horse’ time you spend with your horse, the less anxious he will be. And the less anxiety he has, the fewer “bad behaviors” he displays.
That’s why trying to dominate a horse or be the alpha doesn’t work in the long run because it is not based on a proper understanding of horses’ natural behavior.
It only serves to encourage the “bad behaviors” and does nothing to solve them.
It’s like giving a cough drop to someone with pneumonia. It might ease the cough for a short while but the symptoms persist.
In other words…
You can’t solve the problems you’re experiencing by adding more training, or by going to clinics, or by using special equipment.
Because none of them address the ROOT CAUSE of your horse’s behavior problems, which is a LACK OF TRUST.
First, you must establish trust and then everything else comes on top that.
Trust is the cake upon which the icing of training is added.
You bake the cake first and then you add the icing because you’ve got to get your horse to a place where he is ready and willing to accept training.
And unless you develop your partnership on this basis, your horse is never going to cooperate with you on a consistent basis, which is why you are still getting these unexpected bouts of spooking and erratic behavior.
It’s a case of double jeopardy.
No Trust = No Connection AND no Cooperation.
But here’s the good news…
It’s not your fault either
Because if you are not getting the results you want and the relationship you desire with your horse then in all likelihood it’s because your efforts are being misdirected.
You are not the problem, it’s what you’ve been told you should do that is causing all the issues.
I’ve seen so many women come to my clinics and classes struggling because they think that when the going gets tough, they have to get tough too and they are so relieved when they discover that it’s just not true.
So don’t let tradition or misplaced fear stand in the way of you achieving your dream of a deeper connection and riding carefree together.
Because here’s what happens when you allow your horse to have a voice in your relationship…
Any barriers between you crumble and ALL the problems you’ve been living with automatically start to get fixed too.
If I could sum it up in one sentence, it would be this:
Give your horse what HE NEEDS and he’ll give you what YOU WANT.
So if you want to develop a real partnership and true connection with your horse…
- Forget the ‘microwave culture’, instant results approach – this is not how horses operate.
- Ignore anyone who tells you to dominate your horse – this often justifies the use of punishment.
- Don’t outsource your relationship or problem fixing – this isn’t sustainable and won’t give you the result you want anyway.
Instead try to:
- Look at things from your horse’s perspective and be sensitive to what he is experiencing in that moment.
- Be present and mindful as a member of his herd.
- Take time to get to know your horse by observing him.
- And allow your horse get to know you by simply spending time together.
Because once your horse can sense you understand him…
And you have his back…
It will start to build his curiosity and his interest..
And you will soon become someone he will listen to.
All of which brings you to a crossroads…
You can either forget everything that I have mentioned in this blog and just go back to doing things the way you’ve always done them.
Or, if you are feeling frustrated, confused and don’t know where the gaps in your understanding are, then what you need is not more information, what you need is transformation. It’s time to transform your relationship with your horse so you can finally experience the joy of your horse:
- Running up to the gate to greet you
- Standing quietly while you groom
- Listening to you like another horse in the herd
- Whinnying a delighted hello when they see you
- And willingly doing what you ask because they trust and love you
If that’s what you’re after in your life, then I’d like to help you on that journey…