Understanding the “WHY” … My horse won’t stand for the trimmer … My horse won’t stand to mount … My horse bucks when asked to canter … My horse pushes me when I lead her … My horse (insert anything here) … These friends are NOT training or discipline issues, they are comfort issues. It is our job to understand why your horse is shouting those signals to you.
There is always a “why” and that “why” is almost always rooted in physical and mental comfort—and more training, repetition and discipline can’t cure it.
Most (if not all) things horses have difficulty doing are directly related to proper posture, self awareness, and body carriage, period. Fix that and the “bad things” simply go away. Sounds bold, I know, but I also know it to be true.
To be fair we need always to address the why; stiffness, tightness, balance, self awareness, foot awareness, ease or lack of ease of fluidity and movement and posture before addressing the things we as humans focus on.
Think of it like baking an apple pie. If you’re told to bake an apple pie and you are indeed a superb pasty chef, but not given any apples, you could protest all you want and your boss would get frustrated and demand that you bake his pie … But you simply can’t, without apples.
You have the dough, the sugar, the spices and everything you need, almost. And your boss doesn’t get it and becomes louder and more demanding; you grow to be more and more confused. You want to please him, but there simply is no way you can, not without apples. So you try to protest—he won’t hear it … That is the world the horse finds themselves in if we refuse to seek out the why.
Then your boss suddenly realizes something is not good with you and for the first time he asks you, “Why can’t you bake my apple pie?” You show him you’ve got no apples. He provides apples and you bake a wonderful pie—you needed no training or discipline, or repetition, you merely needed the why answered.
Take time to give your horse all she needs, and not focus on what you want. Then what you want will be given to you in more glorious ways than you could have ever imagined. It begins with finding the why, and that why is always (yes I said always) in the horse’s ability to move in comfort, feel great about her posture and self awareness. The next time something, anything, goes a bit off I implore you to step back and ask why. Change the focus from “results” to “possibilities.” Those possibilities can always be found by giving to the horse, not insisting.
You can find how to accomplish this posture and comfort in my book “It’s for the Horses; An advocate’s musings about their needs, spirit, gifts and care,” HERE. I promise it can change your worlds.
Gitty Up, Dutch.