Thursday, January 02, 2020

On horses and being boss or friend - or what I think works - partner

I’m clearing out some old files and came upon this which I wrote in 2015 in response to a blog post or an email forum post, not sure which. It still holds true for me. A good thing to have in mind going into 2020. BE WITH HORSES. BE is the operative word. 

on horses and being boss or friend - or what I think works - partner

That is so sad and really unfortunate about the lady with the OTTB and the one with the QH. :/  It speaks volumes though - the line from the woman with the QH - she is really not seeing the horse for what he is and what he's capable of, and there's an element of narcissism too that reminds me of what I see in spades in CA and his attitude toward not only horses but people. In a lot of ways it is personality disorder being filtered through an affiliation with horses.

I feel strongly that there is something between friend and boss and that it's called partner. And that one does not have to dominate the horse nor does one have to always be "right" in order to have a happy and safe relationship that can navigate all kinds of behaviors on both the horse's part and the rider/handler's part. Horses get scared sometimes and they are big. If we're smart about our methods of handling them we don't have to get hurt and we don't have to demand that they stand stock still when something spooks them. We sometimes give mixed signals because we're human and not perfect. And a horse that has been treated fairly and with respect will, in my experience, allow for some of that without turning into a monster that takes advantage.

I think the partnership takes more work and much more time and it requires us to really BE with the horse when we're with the horse. Not on cell phones or chit-chatting to other riders or lost in our own thoughts. So many people can't be present - for many different reasons - and really that's what needs to be addressed, not the horse.


Grey Horse Matters said...

Amen, I totally agree with this. We don't need to dominate horses we need to BE with them when we're in their company. If we can't have a good relationship or partnership with them then what's the point of even having a horse. There is a lot of mistreating of horses because of people's misguided personalities or reading too much from so called experts who say horses need you to be the leader. That's just wrong, horses already have a leader in their herd. They need to be able to rely on you and most importantly trust you to treat them fairly. So that's my thoughts on horses and the people who interact with them in a nutshell. Of course, there is a whole lot more I could go into but then I'd have to write a book on what I think about a lot of people I've seen "train" horses.

Matthew said...

The horses have much to teach us if we can be quiet enough in our minds to listen!

billie said...

A, somehow I missed your excellent comment when I posted this earlier this month. I so agree. I always thought it was ridiculous to get into that “you have to be the boss or dominant with your horse” mentality because that’s what happens in the herd. We’re humans, not horses, and horses are smart enough to know that. Why try to act like a horse? Humans and horses bring strengths and weaknesses to a partnership, and when they work together, what a powerful and magical combination!

billie said...

M, exactly!