barry g; that is a totally excellent post, and I agree with it wholeheartedly. In point of fact; as people will know from this forum, I advocate a kinder way, but there are 2 instances that come to mind that I think are relevant here; both involve handling on the ground; one is with a horse I had who was hardly broken. It sometimes took over an hour just to mount her! She would blow up, run forward ( lunge into canter, not just walk off) step sidewards, rear, you name it, she did it. I spent monthes working on tapping and stroking her all round, swinging the stirrups, etc. basically rebreaking her to saddle, and we went from 2 people holding her while I mounted, to me doing it alone. However, one day she was having none of it and she went through every trick in her book, to stop me mounting, and I really had reached the point where I could cheerfully have laid into her with a whip! I was overheated and so was she!!! Did I grab that whip??? NO!!! ( and yes I did ride with one, as an aide, not a punishment) no, I did not, I walked away from her, and took ten minutes to gather my thoughts, and calm down. I then went into her, calm and determined that I was mounting and she would let me, and low and behold, she too was calm, no longer the snorting monster of a few minutes before, she knew she had took me tomy limits!! She stood rock still, I mounted, and we went for a lovely ride.. this to me is a good example of how a horse can pick up on our mood, and why it is so important to back off, and approach things from a calm and kind approach. ..when I worked for the n.h. I often rode horse that were calm for me, and jiggy and excitable for others- they pick up on our moods, therefore we are responsible for how the mood escalates... the other story this has reminded me of, is the mare I have now; in the summer after we have been out, I always wash her off in any sweaty areas, its part of her routine. So one day we came back from a quick trip around the village, and she wasnt sweaty at all, so she just had a brush over. When leading her into her box she planted her feet firmly, and refused to budge. The girl with me was instant raised eyebrows, and show her who's boss, while I just wondered aloud why she didnt want to go in. The reason was obvious to me, it was the only thing that was different; she expected her wash, and was letting me know that I had "forgotten" something. So stating my theory out loud, the girl with me sniggered and looked incredulous. I simply turned my mare around, tied her back up, gave her a quick wash, she looked smug and happy- things were as they should be!- the human got the message, and I then walked her into her box no problems whatsoever, and me, I got the satisfaction of being right to my friend! This is just a light hearted example of why I always look to the horse, to tell me whats wrong, from their point of view. It does not mean they walk all over me; they respect me, I never get my foot stepped on, barged etc. just a word will suffice- they are far more intelligent than most humans give credit for. And I for one want my relationship with horses to be one of partnership, in equal parts- one in which we respect each other, exactly as you say in your post.
Last edited by lillie; 11-30-2009 at 10:56 AM.