RBEI MASTER COURSES: EQUINE HANDLING: PSYCHOLOGY 2
To be able to handle a horse effectively you must have your true and respectful relationship established as the foundation.
When this relationship of fairness and true respect is established you then build your communication between your horse and yourself. The commonplace teaching is to use signals and aids with horses. However if you go this route you will never know or experience the wonder that is true horsemanship. A horse moving so in harmony with you that it is an extension of you who controls itself when performing and a close and respectful friend on the ground.
Here is how you should be communicating with your horse: On top of the kind, gentle, fair, respectful and softspoken attitude you maintain around horses, you add the element and attitude that your horse is expected to move with you and that you will simply show him always what is expected gently as a back up if he wanders from this.
This means when leading or riding your horse you connect with your horse mentally, in good respectful relationship. A pat, a kind word, a cuddle. To walk on you don't say walk on, or pull on the lead. You instead communicate to your horse you are going for a walk together and start walking expecting your horse to come with you. If they don't you then and only then use the lead as a backup only. Horses should be controlling their own actions without any restriction or input from you at all times. Almost like a cruise control, your horse controls itself and you are there only as backup.
What this achieves is a horse that knows it is expected to come with you and to work with you and that you will respect him by not treating him mechanically.
It will mean your horse will move in harmony with you rather than you having to give a signal for every little thing which will only go so far and horses find it hard to remember every little code signal all the time.
When your horse starts to pull away from you or not work with you, you simply re-iterate and bring the horse back into the expectation of working with you, them give back their freedom. Always encouraging him all the way with constant praise.
You guide your horse back into line with a simple reminding touch of a finger or lead touch then give them back their freedom. These are backup reminders not initial signals. Never demand or bark orders at horses. Horses easily discern when they need to adjust their actions, when they feel that freedom niggled at, they learn to adjust themselves to regain that freedom back very fast.
True horsemanship is connecting on a mental level not via physical signals or spoken commands. The horse is a willing and relaxed, free and happy participant, who looks to you for guidance and enjoys achieving with you.
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