Does your horse love you... enough?

Does your horse love you... enough?

April 24, 2018 5 Comments

I know you must love your horse. If you're like me, you're probably a little addicted to horses. But does your horse love you? How can you tell?

"It was 7:30 on a bright, crisp May morning. I didn't sleep well the previous night because all I could think about was the adventure my horse and I were about to undertake. As I stepped outside my little rented cabin on the hillside, I felt the new sun shining brightly through the thin, seven thousand foot plus elevated atmosphere. My cabin was positioned nearly a quarter mile away from my horse, but I could see him from where I stood. He was a small white Arabian gelding, made even smaller by the distance that stood between us. He looked like a toy horse from where I stood. When he saw me, he came to life, like the toy horse in the old "Indian in the Cupboard" story. He whinnied in my direction, even though I was a great distance from him.

To be honest, I didn't know he was calling out to me, for nearly a week. I thought he was just calling out in general. It wasn't until I talked to a friend several days later about him, that I was told he does that every single time I step out of my cabin. When she told me that, I started to pay attention and sure enough, he called every single day. He would nicker, every time I approached. He would watch as I walked down the isle to his stall and be waiting at the gate. I loved it. He made me feel, wanted. He made me feel like I was a good leader. I felt he truly loved me."

That was the first time I had ever felt that deep connection with a horse. He and I could do anything together. I mean anything. From that time forward, I decided I wanted to have that relationship with every horse I owned. I wanted the same thing for every student I interacted with as a professional.

As time passed, however, I realized that many people shared the same kind of relationship, except they couldn't do anything progressive. Their relationship was limited to mediocre activities. I mean, that many people get to a point where their horse will meet them at the gate, or call to them when the door opens, but if they ride for three days in a row, their horse starts to ignore them. In other words, their horse loves them unless they do something challenging. 

So I started asking myself the question: "How do I get people to make progress without screwing up the relationship?"

But before I answer this question I've contemplated for most of my horse career. I wonder if you could answer the question for yourself. Ask yourself... "How can I be progressive, try new things, take on new challenges, and... keep a true bond with my horse?"

Can you think of the answer?

Comment below and tell me how you would do that!



5 Responses

susan Beavis
susan Beavis

May 01, 2018

How can I be progressive? by putting my horse first. Reward the slightest try she gives me even if it is not what I thought I asked for.. Never over face her and break new tasks down into tiny pieces to help her understand. Always ask when she is relaxed and attentive in a learning frame of mind. Dont overdo it, don’t drill, but stay on the same thing a little while till there is an improvement in what you are asking and then get off it. There’s always tomorrow.. Mix concentrated work with play and lots of time out to hand graze, grooming, massages, things your horse likes. Never betray the trust your horse has in you, let him feel safe and comfortable and loved in your company. He knows how you feel. Thank you for getting us to think about this.

Mary Swann
Mary Swann

April 25, 2018

I am new to mastery horsemanship and to ownership, although I leased for years. I have owned my horse for a little over a year. I have experienced times when I feel he loves me and others when he seems aloof but he always respects me. I think the answer is building trust and mutual respect and confidence building when training and trying new things. I also think that I need to stay connected to him when I am with him through talking to him, etc, and paying attention to him and not everything else.

Maggie Scholl
Maggie Scholl

April 24, 2018

I have discovered, through Don’s guidance, that I must be very intentional in having equal amounts of training and bonding every time I am with my horse if I want to keep a good relationship.

Traceylynn Hommel
Traceylynn Hommel

April 24, 2018

Simple…always be reassuring that all is good, and show it always. Respect and a great relationship comes from this, always.

Colleen H
Colleen H

April 24, 2018

How can I be progressive. . .I can put the relationship first by understanding him/her and being the leader my horse needs me to be. I can do this by thinking laterally and not direct line.I can make sure I meet his/her needs so s/he sees me as a leader.
Good question to get the mental juices flowing!

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