Horses Have the Right to Think For Themselves. w/ Doug Walsh - Natural Horsemanship Trainer
Posted February 20, 2019
Horses Have the Right to Think For Themselves.
It’s not our job to determine how a horse should be. How they should think. Or what they should fear.
Horses have the right to think for themselves.
Horses are prey animals and unlike us, as humans, we are predators. They're 98% energy based creatures, which means that 24 hours a day, seven days a week, they're trying to figure out who's gonna come after them. Once you can understand and truly listen to your horse, you can understand where your horse’s fear may be coming from, or why they’re afraid to accomplish something. It’s all about allowing them to think for themselves. But of course, with this, trust is needed.
If you look at your horse as a dance partner, your world will open up. In dance, there’s always a leader. Just for this instance, put yourself in the shoes of the lead partner, and think about this. If you’re leading the dance, and you have clear cues and energy of where you’re moving, your dance partner will be able to follow, to understand, to move with you. Now, if you as the leader were to make a mistake, your partner should be able to know the moves, understand what you’re asking, and be able to pick you up where you left off to get back on track. The only way that this can be accomplished though, is to have the time together, to really learn and understand what one asks of each other. The ability of a horse to think is key and creates those pivotal moments. It’s really important to take the time to understand your horse and build that partnership. That’s what creates trust.
When a horse can think on his own and has the right to make his own decisions, everything becomes safer. Your horse feels safer with you and you feel safer with them. It is our duty to build that strong foundation with these incredible horses who do so much for us and when we don’t, we miss out on so much. This is the same when your horse is out with their herd. As a herd animal, they work in a hierarchical structure. When horses have a great leader in their herd, they also have a much more balanced herd.
Communication and understanding horses is also a huge part of training and working with your horse, whether it be in equine assisted learning, riding, competitions, or in any aspect of your relationship with your horse. A lot of your success comes purely from patience. If we don’t have patience, we shouldn’t pick up that halter. We learn so much from them by listening to what they need and by looking at their mannerisms and if we’re having a bad day, where our patience is off, it’s like a tripod. The tripod is made up of trust, respect and patience. And it one of those legs of the tripod is out, the tripod is going to fall over.
It's a privilege to have a partnership with a horse. So if you’re ever having a bad day, take a moment to reconsider. Reconsider that if in this day, is your work going to end up being in the best interest of your horse? Maybe it’s not the day to ride. Maybe it’s time to go do some meditation, practice mindfulness, get yourself centred and grounded, and take a nice deep breath. Your time with your horse should never be rushed, it should be cherished and honoured.
To learn more about taking your partnership with your horse to the next level, all while learning how to communicate to create that beautiful connection with your horse, visit Doug Walsh at Dark Horse’s Facebook Page by CLICKING HERE