Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Central Western NSW, Australia
I personally think that they do have similarities, but at the same time they are completely different. This makes sense in my head, but I'm not sure if it will once I've tried to write it down...
For example, take my horse when being handled with me versus my mother. When my mother handles him, she coddles him. She doesn't raise her voice to him, even when he's being obnoxious. He basically walks all over her. There have also been times when my mother has been scared of him because he was acting up.
When I handle my horse, there are boundaries and the wrong side of those boundaries have punishment. Whether he fears those punishments, I'm unsure, but he sure as heck respects me for them. If he isn't paying attention, I use what I like to call my 'monster growl' voice. I'm not afraid to give him a tap with my knuckles or a whip as reinforcement.
A prime example is when he was really acting up due to new horses on the property. He was walking all over me, paying no attention and honestly just being dangerous. My mother was terrified and wanted to just put him back in the paddock. I got my lunge whip and worked his butt off. I kept the whip flicking behind him - he stopped to stare at the other horses, he got a smack on the bum. He quickly learned to ignore the other horses, and I haven't had an issue like that since. There have been similar cases under saddle and I use my three step system when he's being stubborn - circle, kick, whip. He knows that when that kick comes, the next step is the whip so he'd better smarten up his act.
I guess to some people my method might seem to be based on fear, but my horse has never shown any signs of being afraid of me. He knows that I am the one in charge, and he follows obediently most of the way because doing what I say has never had bad repercussions, whilst doing the wrong this has. That has made him trust me to be his leader. He has learned right from wrong as much as any horse could, I swear he has apologized to me after the worst occasions, walking up and resting his head lightly against my back.