Sunday, September 11, 2016

The Chasm: Why It Is So Difficult to Understand Horses

We eat meat. He is eaten.

Our greatest desire is for autonomy. His greatest desire is for security.

We crave excitement. He longs for peace.

We have him run hard when we want excitement. He runs his hardest when he sprints away from danger.

We embrace change. He seeks security.

We abhor boredom. He seeks security.

We take risks. He seeks security.

We will accept anarchy if it provides sufficient autonomy. He seeks security.

We pine for adventure. He seeks security.

It has taken me a life time to understand it, but there is no trust--no real relationship with a horse unless one can provide the horse with a sense of security. And therein lies the part of the story most difficult for humans to understand. Our desperate desire for autonomy blinds us to the horses' need to be controlled in order to feel secure. We cannot come to understand the horse until we have spent several thousand hours watching how he interacts with a herd of horses. A lifetime spent with horses who live without the comfort of a herd not only does not help one understand horses, it greatly hinders the process.

In every band, or herd, there is a leader (or two in rare occasions). His leadership style does not appeal to us. He looks to us to be a bully, but the members of his band often panic merely from being separated from him.

We train with 51% control and 49% affection. The result is a herd of very secure horses who seek out human attention because simply standing near a human that provides that control and affection provides them that security.

And if you do not understand this it does not matter how perfect you mimic the techniques of great trainers and clinicians you will never achieve the results that are attainable by simply understanding the key motivation of horse's soul.

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