Originally Posted by Ebonyisforme
I used to not ever hit a horse, I thought it was rude and my love for horses gets in the way, but then I learned from people I ride with that if you do not show them YOU ARE the dominant, they will be and the only way to show them that is to treat them how they would treat the other horses if they were dominant.
I understand. When I started I didn't want to hit the horses either and then I learned how to. I went through the same kind of thinking for several years in part because of what I learned from others who were thinking and doing things that way and it's taken me about a decade to un-learn it. May I suggest that I believe your original instinct was the better one and share with you one big thing that helped turn me around the right way again? I started to look at people like Tom Dorrance and his brother Bill, who were little old men when they were at the peak of their horsemanship and physically could not enforce their will on a horse anymore. I realized that those guys didn't even have the physical ability to get rough at all and yet the things that they could do far surpassed these more dominance-oriented type approaches. Once I started down that road there was no turning back and the rewards continue to be well-worth the effort. Besides, you can't hit a horse hard enough to get his respect. You can't knock him out or physically restrain him except for what he wants to let you
and all you'll do is lose his trust and earn his suspicion, resentment, fear, and all of those other things that make it extremely hazardous to your health to then put yourself in such a vulnerable position as sitting on his back.
It doesn't fit everyone, but I can promise you that it feels so much better in every single way than what I was doing before - and I could force a horse to bend to my will as effectively as any horse-fighter you've ever seen. Which isn't an easy thing to admit, but it's such a common story that it seems like a dis-service to the horse not to talk about it. But yeah, if what you're learning to do goes against your grain then I say drop it. Better ways are out there to find for those who seek! :)