Thursday, February 02, 2012
I've gotten farther along in my Real Riding book and I can't recommend it enough. I just finished Part 3: Mindwork. It's really important stuff. At the end of the section he talks about the state of true being with horses: "Have you ever had those moments with a horse when time seems to stand still? You feel totally uplifted by the experience. It is as though you are floating on air. You feel completely connected with the horse and your surroundings and totally at peace inside yourself. Everything you try to do with the horse happens easily and simply, as though the horse were part of your inner self, reading your mind and carrying out your wishes even before you have asked."
A little excerpt from the same page: "Imagine you're a horse... You form deep bonds; you love your friends and family." Yes, this may sound obvious, but did you ever just sit there and think about how deeply they bond? How much they love one another? I'm sure we've all experienced the magnetism of the herd, often in a very frustrating situation. Wouldn't it be nice if they were herdbound to us?
The next section is Partnership Work and I think it's going to be pretty amazing too.
On another note, there is a video I'd like to share with you. It's titled Horse Training with the Initiator Signal - Asking your horse's permission. I totally love it. Mostly I love it because this is something that just naturally came to into being in my training with Bella, but they've made it much more more clear and consistent than I did. I don't give treats and I don't have a consistent signal, but I do ask her to acknowledge me before I move on to something I know might stress her into mentally retreating. I think I ought to make my method clear like theirs, now that I know it is a method. :)
I'm having a horsemanship crisis of faith. I want to find a system that I think is fair, but that is also clear and easily understood, and I can't find it. Perhaps that's partially because so much of horsemanship is based on experience and feel, not words and techniques. You can't always look at a 2D image and get a feel for the horse and handler's state of mind, or how exactly the horse is bent, or what their breathing sounds like...
I don't like the idea of chasing horses in circles when they're freaked out. I don't believe that's natural horsemanship. I don't believe that a horse who cares about another horse is going to chase them around when they're scared. Sure, they do that as a dominance game, but it's not a friendly game if one horse is seriously scared. Friendly chasing happens in comfortable times, in safety among friends. Aggressive chasing is not among friends. Even if the chaser is in a calm state of mind, if the chasee is not, it's not friendly (in my opinion).
(Feel free to correct me if you disagree with the following.) A loving leader among the horses will still reprimand at times, and will still claim the better food, the better place to stand, etc. But when their buddies are scared they might reassure with a touch of the nose on the shoulder or neck. Or sometimes just ignore the goofy spooky horse. Perhaps they spook and run with them, and then show their unconcern or even advance on the scary object, which helps the scared horse realize there's nothing to worry about. They say, "I see what you're worried about, but it's okay." Maybe they don't really care how the other horse feels and they just experience and feel their own feelings, but they don't exacerbate the problem their buddy is having unless they also are afraid. Aha! Maybe we chase horses because we also are afraid? That sure doesn't put us in the fearless leader position, does it?
All that said, I do understand that often a horse needs to move its feet to "get the crazies out." And I'm not against doing what it takes, for as long as it takes, to keep a horse from jumping into my space. I know that sometimes horse training does not look pretty. And I'm not claiming to be an expert on horse training. I don't really know what I am saying. But I do know that I like my relationship with my horses, and I don't like to chase them around (unless they're being naughty on purpose, which the boys have been known to do, but even then circles are not always the answer). And I know I'm in a serious seeking phase right now. So, any suggestions? Books? Videos? Articles? Websites?
Blah. I keep going back and re-reading what I've written and it doesn't seem quite right. Don't think I'm not happy and thankful for the many wonderful teachers we meet along our horsemanship paths. There are so many gems and jewels to gather from them. And I'm not claiming everyone else is wrong and I'm right. I'm just uncomfortable in my own self about some methods. They obviously work for a lot of people. Maybe I've misunderstood, or read the horses wrong. I don't think I have, but I don't claim to be infallible. :)
Anywho... Enough second guessing my writing - I'm going to sign off now!