Great article and really good comments here.
rider: They were all so different.........I really don't see how any of them were a reflection of me. A mirror of what I would (or would not) let them get away with.....perhaps. But all their personalities were completely unique. I guess logically the one I raised from a foal would be the closest reflection on my skills (or lack thereof) as a trainer. But still........I don't think I created his personality. He would be the same horse (just maybe with a different level of training) no matter who raised him.
I've had horses that made me look good.......like my Mustang. But that is more a reflection of him being a good horse rather than what I put into him. So yeah, I think people like to say the horse is a reflection of the owner because it's an easy thing to say. But the truth is, every horse is unique, even raised and trained by the same person.
I have to agree with this. I don't think a horse is as much a reflection or mirror of the person, but rather they react to what we offer. We can no more create their response than we can make another human calm or upset by our approach to them. Of course there are strategies that work for most people and situations, but there are no guarantees. Horses are more in tune to body language than humans. But body language or ability to communicate provide no guarantees. There are those who have thought using the right body language or approach would guarantee their safety with bears or lions, and ended up being injured or killed.
It is simplistic to think of a horse as simply a reflection of us, because different horses can react to us based on their own unique personalities in many ways. As
rider pointed out. The way you are will not turn every horse into the same horse. And while you might affect a horse in a certain way, you can also change the way you approach that horse, and therefore change his responses to you. If he is reacting to you being overly pushy, you can become softer. If he is more timid because you are nervous, you can learn to be more bold.
I like the part where the article says horses have the fingerprints of others on them. This means that where one horse might respond to your clear and calm communication easily and calmly, another may react differently because of what others have done with them. Some horses don't have the fingerprints of others, they have depressions burned in from other peoples' strong grips.
You knew that’s where I was going with this, didn’t you? A horse can’t do better than what we can do. He can’t surpass our ability. We are his limiting factor. I know that’s tough to swallow. I wish it wasn’t so, but it is.
Something the article doesn't get into is what I have found, which is that neither the horse or the human is static. It kind of makes it sound like you're stuck where you are, and so is the horse. But horses that have been beyond my skill level have elevated me, because I have needed to learn and grow in order to help them. Then when I have grown better, the horse has gotten better too. There are no limits to this process, other than physical ones, because horse and human can both expand and learn and grow together.