Tempus Fugit * horses take timeA friend on the HF kindly sent me as an introduction, a link to Ray Hunt’s web site and I have extracted the essence of some of his words of wisdom. This man knew horses. Herewith my paraphrase of what he once wrote:
If the human will give 5%, the horse will give 95%.
In a contest between horse and human, which the human invariably makes into a win or lose situation, the horse usually wins.
The human is so busy working on the horse that he doesn't allow the horse the time to learn. .
The horse usually gets the job done in spite of us, not because of us.
The horse is good at non verbal communication which must be interpreted by humans.
The horse is very honest and will tell you the facts.
Humans teach the horse to cheat; not the other way round
RAY HUNTRay Hunt was a life long horseman indeed horses were his life. Nowadays few of us get the chance not only to play with horses but to work with them as he did. There is simply never enough time. My own opinion is that we spend time in this life more than we do money. We certainly don’t allocate enough time to our equine companion(s) for there are always time pressures on us be they from work or family or home or other “essential commitments”. A young professional woman with home, husband, family and job has little daylight time left over from any day. I have sympathy for her. But as a result our relationships with our horses suffer. Problems arise.
A horse knows the time of day but he doesn’t measure it or spend it. If a job takes time to do, he takes the time to do it. So when we want him to do something for us, we have to allow him time to understand what it is we want him to do and then he has to work out how to do it for us. And often we don’t allow him enough time nor do we pick the right moment. We are constrained and dominated by that ticking thing on our wrists.
On a nice sunny day we don’t have time to ride, on the following day we ride in a rain storm. The horse must think we are mad. We book the arena for a period and when the period has lapsed we leave the arena. We may have stayed too long or we may have left too early. The horse is puzzled “Why when we were getting on so well did we stop? He asks.
Competitions are organised for a day - so the horse and the rider must, repeat must, be ready on the day Race horses can’t ever run much faster than they do but they must run as fast as they can on the day. There is to be a test, we must be ready on the day. The horse literally doesn’t know what day of the month it is. But by including the horse in this human created treadmill, we enforce these quaint conceptions on our horse. Surely we must learn to give the horse the time of day.
Another point RH was making by his work is that we humans should learn to trust our horses much more than we do because in most instances they know more about the job in hand than we do - that is of course unless we want them to cheat.
The acceptance of this philosophy by a human is of course dependent upon the human’s willingness to believe that a horse has a level of intelligence and that they present as something more than dumb beasts of burden.
Some of us will readily believe that : “a horse is having us on” or being “deliberately disobedient because it knows what to do” but those same people will also declare that the horse has no intelligence beyond perhaps memory. We talk, shout, and berate our horses but we make no attempt to understand their communications back to us. “The crop is greater than the carrot” they cry. Why is it that we believe that they understand us if the horses know we can’t understand them? Traditional ideas of: “compulsion is best” combined with impatience and an obsession with the clock stand between us and a better relationship with our horses We should open our minds to a different way of thinking. We must remember the honestly spoken words of the Ray Hunts of this world. Most of what we do with horses takes time and patience. Yet the one thing most of us seem to do is to restrict the time we allow for our horses to communicate and respond to us.
Sad isn’t it?
* Translated as “Time flies”