What we say to our horses … it matters. Words have meanings, we all understand that, but do we sometimes ignore the unintended consequences?
I believe politeness matters. I believe our horses recognize politeness … and indifference, selfishness and rudeness in speech, action and body language.
We hear so much about partnering with our horses and the overabundance of techniques for gaining that partnership, or sometimes perceived partnership.
Most of these discussed and sought after practices for producing partnership are centered on training the horse. I believe that just may be backwards. I’ve often written about my deep dislike for round penning, and any other technique that “teaches” the horse.
From the first instant a horse meets a person they get them. And as the old saying goes, “It takes a long time to overcome a bad first impression.” But horses also analyze every step of the way, and they remember everything. Forever.
How can we achieve a deep, trusting and caring partnership with our horse? Easy, we earn it. In everything we do with our horses we should ask, not demand. Remember horses are keen preceptors of feelings, signals and vibes.
That’s why what we say, and how we say it matters so very much. Don’t believe me? Try this, think of the word “stupid”—and concentrate on how your body and energy feel. Now think of the words “good boy”—and concentrate on how your body and energy feel. Big difference right?
I’m always amazed at people who act and speak rudely to their horses, I hope most of us are. Not all that uncommon though is it? What about folks who are sweet as pie with their horse, until something goes in a direction that person did not want? Then the sweetness falls from the pretense and rudeness, demands, or condescension come out and the horse is called, lazy, stupid, stubborn, unwilling, and actions, body language and vibes come with those words. And the horse hears, feels and sees them—and becomes confused … Which person do I follow?
That confusion chips away at trust, and trust is the keystone to any partnership.
I believe to achieve a deep, trusting and caring partnership with our horse; politeness must be the very foundation on which we build.
In everything we do, if we are polite in our actions and words our horse will pick up on that, and bond with us in a way that far surpasses any training technique that focuses on demands, and a power play.
Always conducting ourselves in a manner rooted in politeness also teaches the horse to be polite, willing and trusting. It really is that simple ~ Gitty Up, Dutch.