just an advance warning, this post does contain extremely graffic pictures of a mare with an injured head.
Horsemanship is a seriously contentious issue and subject. Why? When we are all about the horses, why is it so contentious?
In every walk of life be it horses, religion, politics, raising children, cleaning the kitchen and toilet, there are opinions, methods and extremes from soft, even feel or too hard. So why do we feel the need to find that one box to put something in.. Why, just because you have seen one horse being treated to hard with one method or too softy, do we feel the need to lock it into that one box and render it a waste of time, useless, terrorizing or abusive. Why can we not see each horse and handler at face value and take what we need from any method we choose because it is what will work for us?
Life is about mistakes and learning from them, whether its your mistake or someone Else’s, take that mistake, learn from it, have it mold yourself and your life, by the choices you make from seeing others and your own mistakes.
There are many roads to Rome. While many have started the road to feel, in my opinion they should now start to dig deeper. By digging deeper, they need to seek to work with the mind even further then they have. I feel they have become stuck in the mud of their methods and do not think laterally enough for each individual. The horse must do it their way…..There should be a their way, but with the ability to expand those thoughts, ideas and capabilities.
Each situation must be treated on its own merit…Dare I say it but the best example of this, I have found on the American TV series Heartland… Each horse is treated on its own merit and precisely for its needs. While this is a TV show of a young girl with a gift and I can see holes in the way some of the things are done, the crux of it is.
You have to take it back a step, you cannot fight the fight or fight the symptoms, you have to take the training back further to train it out of them, to teach them that it wont hurt, its not scary, it is safe.
So for me horsemanship is all about feel, feeling what the horse needs and adjusting laterally if needed to help the horse achieve peace, harmony and a healthy life. I do not classify myself as wholistic, I am certainly not soft or hard, I just prefer to use body language above all else to achieve the purposes with the horse.
I get told often, that I am touchy feely, from the hard group obviously, then so hard, by the soft group obviously…Well I do what is needed… I have not hit a horse in 4 yrs, when I did it was purely to match what was being given, with the troubled child, before that I had not hit a horse in wow, 20 years. I don’t have the need to, I work with the mind, with the body language and with the horse. It is achievable if you choose it.
Case is point, went to the local show a few weeks ago. Dear friend and her daughter were showing their freision warmbloods. They went to take one of the mares home. The mare out of the blue went nuts in the horse float/trailer. She hit her head multiple times, slicing it criss cross fashion and fractured her skull. She still had to get home after vet treatment and needed a way to get her back on a float/trailer that had no pressure on her head.
I went at it with the thought of, even if you just stand quietly at the end of the ramp, that is fine. But just stand quietly, this took and hour of shuffling and keeping her facing it and keeping her straight. Once this was achieved, the next step was two feet on the ramp, but just stand their quietly, dose’nt matter if she does’nt end up loading totally, just stand there. No fear!! So next part, just put two feet in the back of the float/trailer, if that was were it ended then its an achievement and a success after what she went through. But still no fear!! No hitting, No head pressure, No stress!! If she chose to move that was fine, but I insist you go back to where you were because that was fine and you were safe there. This all went on for 2 and half hours. In the end she self loaded on and off the float/trailer 4 times, then I shut her in and rode inside with her all the way home.
This mare is healing extremely well due to her dedicated young owner Aylah Harwood.. Keep up the great work mate!! Will come and work with you both when she is all better.
There was no lunging, no hitting, no stress, no head pressure….due to her injuries this had to play out very carefully and specifically, FOR THE HORSE.
My deepest thanks go to Dianna Angel and her patience and help to tow this mare home at the end of a very long day of showing. Her stud http://pic7.piczo.com/Hassanemesis-Arabians/?g=1