Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
1. Do you feel horses have influenced who you are? If so, how?
Taking care of him forced me to become confident in myself and the decisions I made. He's made me more aware of myself, and the trust in our relationship has made it easier for me to enjoy and relax in my human relationships. He has taught me a lot about what's important, and forgiveness. About taking chances and being careful. Without him, I really don't think I'd be exactly who I am today. He keeps me grounded.
2. “Horses are a portal into nature.” Do you agree with this statement? Why /why not?
I don't really have an opinion on this question. Sorry! :)
3. How would you describe your way of working with your horse(s)?
I'm usually laid back and relaxed about working with the horses, but I didn't used to be. There was a lot of yelling in our first days of working together. He was western, I was english. He'd been a lawn ornament for three years, and was stubborn and set in his ways. I was just as stubborn, which ultimately is what brought us together. When he pushed me, I pushed right back.
His willingness to forgive has taught me a lot about working with horses. I make a mistake and he's the first to tell me that even though I made him uncomfortable for a moment, it's okay. I've worked a bit with a really good natural horsemanship trainer in my area, and he's also taught me a lot. He gave me the tools to be able to better communicate with my guy, taught me how to better read his moods, and to know when it was more than okay to keep pushing him.
4. How would you describe your relationship with your horse(s)?
Oh boy is this a multidimensional question! We are very close, joined at the hip actually. I can read his moods like a book, and he is the same with me. I know when he's having a bad day, and can tell that I'm not having a good riding day by his responses. He gets mad at me when I disappear for a week of vacation. I tend to get tail slapped quite a bit when I get back until he's forgiven me. Treats tend to soften him up. ;) :)
He is really, truly, honestly my equine soul mate. I've loved others before him, and some after he came into my life, but no other horse is quite like him. No other relationship is as deep and understanding as ours. There will certainly be other horses in my life, and I'm sure I will develop similar relationships with some, but there will only be one like this one. He's my once in a lifetime horse.
5. If you come from a ‘traditional’ background and you identify yourself with ‘natural horsemanship’, could you explain why you made the switch and if it has changed your relationship with your horse, how you perceived this change.
I came from a more traditional english training background. I have always been about becoming one with the horse, asking rather than telling, and developing a true relationship. No matter what the discipline, horses should be treated kindly and with respect.
I like to pull from both worlds, classic english and natural horsemanship, to get the best of both. I don't believe in using crazy gimmicks, but I also believe that sometimes you do need them. Not all horses are created equal. Sometimes you HAVE to be firmer with a horse. Sometimes, no matter how well you set them up for the right answer, they just won't get it without the help of a training aid (or gimmick). You should never force the horse into anything, but it's okay to use assistance to teach the horse the right idea so they can learn to do it on their own.
Bringing in NH values to my riding has brought my horse and I closer together. I've learned better ways to ask him for something, and to teach him something new. He was a western horse for 21 years of his life, and he's now my happy english 'pony'. I have to understand his limitations and work with them, and in return he gives me his all. Everything he knows from his western training correlates with his english training, and NH made it easier for us to learn together. So ultimately, I perceive the change as the best thing that could have possibly been given to us (aside from finding each other!).
6. If you identify as being part of the natural horsemanship community; has being part of this larger community influenced you in anyway?
Most of my barn is into NH, so the community there has influenced me some. I'm still a bit of the odd man out given my english background, but it's brought us all closer together. I can't say that it's had a huge impact on my life or beliefs. I tend to be more quiet about my english training though as they don't always agree with it.