Wednesday, October 19, 2011
It Is The Relationship That Matters
Let's just pause here for a moment and look at a training story. There are many different ways to approach natural horsemanship, but when done properly they all come back to the same thing--using forms of communication that the horse instinctively understands to tell the horse what you want it to do while developing the kind of relationship with the horse that makes the horse delighted to do what you want it to do. Some systems are simple. Some are layered and complex. Which ever system suits one best is entirely a function of one's personality. For example, many may take comfort in a very specific program that sets out very specific goals to be attained before one seeks to attain the next set of very specific goals. Such a system is not for me. I prefer a comfortable t shirt to a straight jacket in every case.
Danielle has become a first rate trainer using the same free style, play by ear methods that I use. This is her little mustang. Danielle can catch her, saddle her, ride her through whatever terrain or obstacles that are present, and return home safely. The horse had not been handled for quite a long time. Last night Danielle rode her as if the horse had been riding the woods every day for ten years. The last time that someone tried to get on the mare she blew up badly. Danielle could have chosen to focus on what had happened weeks ago and worried about whether the same thing would happen to her. She could have decided that the horse was simply dangerous and untrustworthy and chosen other horses to ride. She could have nervously mounted up, held her breath, squeezed tightly and hoped for the best.
Instead she found a safe place to mount up and did so with cool confidence. The horse responded just as she had when Danielle trained her over a year ago. She rode off with her head down, completely relaxed.
The mare would not have done that for anyone else, unless they conducted themselves exactly as Danielle did. Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3 have their place, but the most important level is to have a level head. When she is training horses that is what Danielle has.
Posted by Steve Edwards