..... What it almost comes down to is 'You either have it or you dont'
Some people could read all the books, watch all the videos and get all the right hands on training and they would never 'have it' while others with no real help at all will take on an animal they have no real experience with and somehow make a success of it
I'm not sure how much of it is plain common sense and how much is the natural ability to read animals and see things in them that you will also see in children or dogs......
You hit it exactly, and it’s what I alluded to in my post about common sense and the lack of I see too much these days.
I was raised around horses and all manner of animals and seemed to have an innate sense to read them. I understood all kinds of herd/species dynamics from a very young age, and the approach/retreat ideas as well as the drive forward/turn away by simply choosing to apply pressure in front of/behind the shoulder. This works for most herd and prey animals and isn’t unique to horses or the trainers who teach it.
No one ever had to explain these things to me, or the fight/flight type of thinking as well as the zones of comfortableness in prey animals. Making the right thing comfortable and the wrong thing uncomfortable works as a training tool with many animals.
Anyone ever heard of halter breaking a calf by tying it to a donkey? Calf will learn very quickly to give to the pressure and follow the donkey because the donkey is going to go where it wants to go regardless of having to drag a calf along or not.
Years ago this was a very common way to halter break nearly any animal with hooves and it worked. (Not saying it was nice, just that many people used the concept.)
So, after riding and working with animals for 25 years, I had to move to and work in the city. The ability to read most animals did get a little rusty, but after returning to having a farm it came back nicely. I did not, however, ever have the ability to read kids… that’s for sure! LOL And I’m still allergic to all of them except my own.
Seeing what some of these trainers/human coaches are doing mostly makes me grin because yes, these ideas have been around for ages. But I wouldn’t say it is the experienced people that are the anti’s.....we are just the ones kicking ourselves because we didn’t think to market the stuff and get rich like they did.
Anyway, unfortunately a friend of mine doesn’t have “it” and never will. She has done the trainer in a box thing, was able to get her horse to back up by wiggling a rope, and produce some ok ground manners, but she never understood what she was doing/asking of the horse or why. She never understood the way horses think or why they do what they do.
She has also had farm animals of all kinds for many many years and is no closer to understanding any of them.
I’ve unfortunately had to help her way too much and know this first hand. She can fake it a little when an animal is standing still and being good (any animal) but beyond that, she is the one who is mentally going… “Ok, the trainer said do “xyz” and animal will do “abc“ but it isn‘t working….I have no idea what to do now!!??”
I do believe her lack of ability to read and understand the basic concept of horses is what led to her terrible wreck of a riding accident that changed her life (before I knew her.)
So yes, there is a flip side as mentioned above that some people will think their abilities are far greater than they really are, which obviously can be dangerous.