Accepting the Horse as an individual
Another thread to to invoke rational thought.
Every horse is an individual with their own personality and perception of thenselves and their environment.
If that is truly the case then can anyone "train" a horse or "break" a horse without first understanding their society, their language and who they are as an individal??
One step further== How can one believe that they can sucessfully "train" or "break" a horse without establishing a discernable method of communication between the individual horse and the carnivore human??
Understanding the huge leap of faith that a prey animal must take to offer respect and trust to a predator--and yes thats what we are--how can we violate or ignore that leap??
It is what it is.
Most predators--thats us humans--think that we determine what the individual horse should be--"He will be a cow horse", "she will be a champion reiner", "my horse will be a good trail horse" etc.
Another way of thinking: Help the horse adapt and understand what it takes to live in the world of the human and provide them the tools and skills necesary to "be all that they can be'!!
If you provide an environment that does this and , at the same time, encourages them to be what they are, is this not the best way???
The only thing that is required is basic and simple. If you own or train horses then every chioce needs to include this basic idea.
Remember its us humans that have butted in and forced the horse to change and comply with our ideas and beliefs. Who to breed to, live in a
box, do what I say, eat unnatural things ( sack feed) the list just goes on and on.
Understand this and you will have a better understanding of what the word "respect" means to a horse.
Excellent post, 5cuetrain!
Humans' goals for horses so often differ from the goals the horses have for themselves! With humans having the leverage, the horses suffer for it.
To be honest I haven't rationalised my relationship with my horse too much. She seems happy and confident and does as she is told. I haven't gone out into the paddock with her and thought, "oh dear, I am a predator I hope she can accept that!" My relationship with my horse is what it is, I think that some people definitely over think the whole horse/human dynamic.
There has to be some level of understanding that horses have evolved with people, horses and people have been intrinsically linked for centuries. Most horses that are in association with people have been born into the human world, lets face it the percentage of horses that have no human contact what so ever must be quite low. The point I am trying to make is that I don't believe that we are as foriegn to horses as some would like to think. I have read on this forum again and again that horses can read our body language. This means that we are communicating with horses all the time whether intentionally or not. While there are definitely many horses that have been severely put upon by people I think most horses see us coming a mile away. I don't accept that all horses spend their entire existance in fear of the "predator human". I think that horses have been bred to be 'humanised' to a degree. Similarly, as are cats and dogs.
Having said all that I would like to say that it really pisses me off when an individual horses is not judged by it's own nature. Instead in some fields horses are expected to perform based on their blood lines, the performance of sire, dam, siblings or breed. Thoroughbreds are a typical example, a young horse is bought based on its bloodlines and the performance of it's parents etc. The young horse is expected to be as good if not better so is pushed and pushed until it either succeeds or is broken. Horses that come from jumping bloodlines HAVE to jump, horses from racing bloodlines HAVE to race and win, whether the horse has the heart or temperament is irrelevant and so isn't judged as an individual anyway. I find this type of exploitation of horses really sad.
I don't think that all horses are victims of humanity, I think that most of us do pretty well at respecting the horse. To be honest I think there is a strange irony in the fact that amatuer horse owner, little girl, with no money makes more effort to communicate and be good to her horse than Mr Megabucks horse owner/trainer who could care less about the nature of the horse because at the end of the day he has spent thousands on them and needs a return on his investment.
It is 3AM here and one of my ponies was able to effectively communicate with me and to wake me from a deep sleep and come give him a snack and some attention.
I glow with pride (sarcasm).
There is no doubt in my mind that are mares look at us sometimes and think "Silly humans!"
Great post. It's things like the ones posted that people sometimes don't give much thought to. Horses shouldn't be tools or robots or slaves. My horse, before I got him, was being forced to be made into an Eventer. He likes jumping, but not like that. Their mentality was, "You were bred for this so that's what you're going to do." As a result, I had a lot of extreme issues to work out when I got him.
Great post, very interesting and something I wish more horse owners would take into account. I am currently starting four 3 year olds for one owner and spent some time yesterday explaining that they will all progress at different rates according to how they take to training and their own personal comfort level.
E.g. The Arab stallion is very intelligent but needs to learn to concentrate on me rather than other horses, I won't take him too far until he learns that. Her filly is very nervous (thanks to a past owner) and I won't push her until she is comfortable with people, saddles, bridles etc. Her Quarter horse on the other hand can't wait to be worked with, yesterday he had pushed his nose into the headstall before I had even got through the gate into his paddock! He will probably be ready to go on rides as early as next week. The last Arab filly is somewhere in the middle.
They will all get there however I believe you have to take into account all of the nuances in horses personalities/past experiences, there is no set time line for starting horses as they are all different.
Its a fact a horse can be broke without any understanding of their nature. Before the age of the horse as a hobby animal. Back when a horse was the only means of transportation, many were broke by means of fear and pain. Horses were broke quick and dirty. This method is still used, and it does work. Its the human (at least some) that has changed not the horse
There are different methods. Each one does come out with different out comes and attitudes sometimes for the horse. But over all each one does work.
When it comes into the amount of time to do something, sometimes that horse just dosen't comprehend what you are telling it to do, so it takes longer. Each method I believe out there theoreticly will break a horse for you. But each one will end up that you are the leader (if done right), and the horse will naturally follow.
But if this is what you want in your horse... go right ahead ;-).
Like I said earlier in my post... each training method comes out with a little different results for each horse.
I think people today have gotten so soft with their horses that they don't understand that mix signals for a horse will only come out with frustration on your half. But most of the humans out there don't understand that most of the time its their own fault that their horse isn't listening to them.
Pressure and release - all the methods I know out there use this in some way in their training... and it always works. Its putting your horse to work, then rewarding them in the end. Either that being from the simple of pulling on the rein then releasing it... to pushing your horse hard galloping through a feild and then letting your horse rest at the end of the day.
In the end... respect can get you further in understanding your horse.
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