RBEI MASTER COURSES: EQUINE MANAGEMENT: GEAR 1
Your gear is an extension of you.
If your gear is harsh and uncomfortable it communicates to your horse that you are harsh and cruel and damages your relationship with your horse, making your horse mistrust you.
Gear is there to assist us to work in harmony with horses. It is not to dominate, force, hurt or hinder.
We work with a horse using careful, gentle, kind and respectful communication, not gear, force and control. Your relationship should be your most resourceful piece of equipment and you should have a relationship that allows you to ride and work with your horse without any gear.
If you need to use anything but the bare minimal kind and gentle gear, you need to properly address the problems you are trying to cover up with harsh gear.
It is a widely accepted norm, to use harsh and hindering equipment with horses. This is ALL unnecessary if proper relationships are built and if problems are addressed significantly at their root cause and dealt with kindly.
For example, a horse getting his head up and higher than you would like or than is comfy for you when you ride, commonly people will apply a martingale or similar restrictive gear.
This manages the issue for you, but not for your horse. You need to show your horse kindly you prefer his head a little lower, you can do this by riding with a loop in the reins in a 20 - 30m circle, and at times dropping the reins all-together and gently stroking or cuddling your horses neck re-assuring him, he will drop his head and relax. High head carriages are a result of nervousness about the rider, and often hands that grip and / or are unsteady.
Almost all of riders and horse owners currently cover their in-efficiencies by controlling their horses in harsh or cruel gear of some form.
But our fears and in-efficiencies are not a valid reason to be cruel to these beautiful and gentle animals, there is never a reason to be cruel to horses.
All of horse management should be comfortable, kind, soft, gentle and if you are a coward with any aspect you must learn, rather than hinder your horses freedom and growth.
Horses hurt everyday because of our fears.
This must change.
I will tell you now I have re-educated horses that some of the worlds best horseman have not been able to. And this was while I was a kid growing up. Horses that had killed people. I will also tell you if I had used currently accepted methodology or the way that is taught and accepted worldwide I would have been killed myself. But I built a true, transparent, mind game free, respectful, kind and gentle relationship of fairness with all of them, no gimmicks and most certainly NO special gear. If I had resorted to this type of thinking I would not have got anywhere with these horses.
With horses you must remain true and fair. Horses know when you are not being genuine, they know when you are not being fair and they know when gear hurts or is very uncomfortable or restrictive that you have done this to them to inflict this on them, so you may have appeared to win the battle but you have actually lost the war.
When it comes to gear, your one and only preoccupation should be to ask yourself is it as comfortable to my horse as is totally possible and that goes for how things are done up also.
The currently accepted use of gear is worlds away from what is right, good and necessary. This needs to be re-addressed worldwide, our old beliefs taken apart and new, relevant ones applied.
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