Earn the respect of your horse
Respect for the horse can not be achieved “automatically”, it does not come from nowhere. It must be earned. The best way to do this is to use the same tactics that horses use to gain respect from each other.
“You seek respect from a horse by moving its legs forward, back, left and right, and always rewarding the slightest attempt to respond correctly,” says Clinton Anderson, a trainer who does not need to be introduced.
“When the horses go out to pasture together, they begin to establish a hierarchical order. At first, the herd will remain tense, there will be fights. But within a few days a hierarchical order will be built, and only one horse – most often – the eldest mare – will turn out to be the leader of the herd. But how did she gain control of the group? She proved to all the horses in the pasture that she could make them move forward, backward, left and right. ”
Horses communicate through body language. Sometimes they scream, snort, laugh, and hunt, but most of their messages are silent. A mare (future leader) relies on a systematic, phased approach to get other horses to move and, therefore, respect her.
If another horse were standing by the pond, and this mare would want to force her to leave, she would act according to plan. First of all, she would have buried her ears. If she was ignored, she would have bared her teeth and pretended to want to bite the second horse. Afterwards, she might have tried to bite really. If the horse had not moved, the mare would have turned and began to swing its tail, pretending to strike. Then she would actually strike and continue to beat until the second horse left. The one who concedes first loses the battle. All these steps take only a few seconds.
“Despite the fact that the mare-boss showed several stages of pressure, she did not linger on any of them for too long,” emphasizes Anderson. – She didn’t grin for five minutes before trying to bite. But she gave the second horse the opportunity to move at every level of pressure, and, if she did not get the answer she expected, increased the pressure.
Horses are constantly fighting for a position in the hierarchy, trying to rise to the place above. Every day they test the strength of the leader, and the boss-mare will have to prove to them that she is still capable of forcing them to move with their legs. ”
The same will happen in your relationship with the horse. The key to success will be that you have to be worthy of playing the role of leader.
“The horses challenge the other horses in the herd every day and they will do the same with you,” says Anderson. – Nothing personal; it’s just business. Horses are naturally willing to follow and be led, but they need a leader whom they can respect and trust. ”
Horse number 1 in the herd should not be the largest or strongest; she just has to be the most courageous and intelligent. She has to be the most effective leader. When she tells other horses to move, they better move, or she will support the request with action. Keep this in mind every time you work with a horse. The more you can make a horse move, the more control you have and vice versa. The reverse is also true: the more your horse makes you move, the more it will be disrespectful to you.
Respect is necessary because it opens the door to trust and creates a safe, mutually beneficial partnership between you and your horse.
“Respect must be established from the very first day of working with the horse,” says Anderson. “She should respect you, and you should respect her.” This is a two way street. Respect is the basis of control; without it, you will not be able to control your horse, and she will be unhappy at work. Unfortunately, respect cannot be conveyed with a horse, ”Anderson continues. “This means that you can buy a well-trained horse, but if you do not establish a respectful partnership with it, it will not work well with you for a long time. Just because I deserve the respect of a horse, I will not be able to give it to you – the horse will not respect you and me equally. Every person is responsible for winning the respect of each horse. ”
Conducting seminars and trainings throughout the country, Anderson found that many people are upset because, having spent a lot of money on a well-trained horse, after some six months they are faced with the fact that the horse begins to behave as if it knows nothing and can not.
“If I sold you one of my well-trained horses and you drove her home and didn’t deserve her respect, didn’t put yourself as a leader and didn’t force her legs to move forward, backward, left and right, she would turn from a safe, obedient partner “a disrespectful thug who would make you move,” says Clinton.