Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Training With Raw Power and Domination
I am not averse to flexing. I believe in being modest and humble unless modesty and humility reach the point of dishonesty. Then they become no more virtuous than any other lie.
I believe that effective training of horses and kids requires the proper exercise of raw power and domination. When I was young I was a politician. Exercising power was very rewarding for me. There are two ways to exercise political power--by getting things done or by preventing things from being done. I never understood the "preventers" who showed their power by staking out turf, being obstacles, waiting for others to show proper obsequiousness to them.
I loved showing my power by getting things done to help people that could use a hand. The reality is that it takes more power to open a door than it takes to shut one, and I never enjoyed shutting doors. I never minded the use of raw power to open doors and I used whatever raw power was necessary without the slightest regret.
The same dichotomy exists among many teachers and trainers. I do not believe that the proper, or most impressive, use of raw power is to beat or humiliate a horse into compliance. I am not impressed by a trainer that is so smart, skilled, and shrewd that he can outsmart a horse that has, at best, the mind of a five year old child. I am not impressed by the use of a "stud chain" across a horse's nose. The stud chain is a perfect symbol of hatred.
I am not impressed by hate.
I am impressed by extreme demonstrations of real power such as that shown by the trainer that has a wild horse following him around the round pen while disparately seeking to comply with the trainer's request. I am impressed when a terrified horse approaches a rushing stream and actually looks back up at its rider and then, after seeing the reassuring look in the rider's eye, gets the courage to ford the stream. That rider shows raw power. That rider shows domination. That horse moves in spite of its fear of the rushing water, not because it is afraid of the rider. That horse moves out of love.
I am impressed by love.
The exercise of raw power and domination out of love is the only force on this earth more powerful than the exercise of raw power and domination out of hate. Love does not require that discipline be ignored. Love does not require the rider or trainer to allow the horse to decide what it wants to do. Love does require that power never be exercised out of anger or frustration and that the amount of force used is no more than that which is necessary to teach the horse to succeed.
The proper exercise of raw power and domination in training requires one to be perfectly comfortable both with having a shot gun in hand, and in never having to use it.
To those who feel that I give horses too much credit for ability to have feelings beyond the instincts that are necessary for survival and insist, "A horse can never be taught to love me." You may be correct. If so the flaw lies in you, not the horse.
This all comes back to the basic reason that one should practice natural horsemanship--to become a better person.
Posted by Steve Edwards