Kristin’s Horse Sense mission is to provide a program for youth and adults that includes riding and care of ponies and horses. The goal is to develop responsibility through leadership and promote partnership without dominance, teamwork without fear, willingness without intimidation, and harmony without coercion - Horsemanship confidence.
A good equine leader-stop the confusion, build the confidence.
It’s simply really, when you think about it. When do people and animals act out? When they don’t feel right inside, when they feel like something in the situation is wrong.
When do people get frustrated? -When something is going wrong. What is usually the problem? Somehow, somewhere, communication has broken down.
When things go wrong, what is happening? How do you feel? Usually, you feel your horse isn’t listening and you are getting frustrated. That’s a great time to STOP! End on a good note. Ask something simple that you both know well so the last thing your horse feels is good about being with you. SMILE, you KNOW you love your companion even though every moment isn’t perfect.
Next: Research!! Clear your mind and organize your thoughts so you know how to ask your horse what you want them to do. Gain your confidence back. It is important to keep your horse’s individual personality in mind when you come up a plausible way to communicate what you want your horse to do. The answers ARE out there, written is every possible way to help people learn. What do I think works? I recommend natural horsemanship. The whole relationship is based on how to understand horses from the horses’ point of view. You work ‘with’ them instead of ‘make’ them do something. You base your relationship on love, language and leadership.
Let’s focus on understanding leadership. Good leaders know how to communicate clearly. They have confidence because they have been successfully communicating consistently. Animals follow good leaders because their leader forges a relationship based on building trust, respect and confidence. An important thing to remember is that good leaders are good learners and good listeners.
In order to be a good equine leader you really need to understand the fundamentals of a horse. What makes a horse tick? First off, they are a prey animal and they need to survive.
What does this mean? It means that if to survive equines must ignore pain, they will. This does not make for a good case to MAKE a horse do something by inflicting high levels of pain. This also means that if you reach the point where your horse is acting out and your teeth are clenched in frustration and you want to whip the horse into submission; note that the feel of the situation is all wrong. STOP! At that moment, you have a horse past any point of learning and your communications have broken down. STOP! Breathe! Calmly ask something simple, end on a good note where you and your horse want to be together. Ask yourself, HOW do trainers get horses to want to do these things? It’s time for some research.
If you are in a situation where you have to communicate to your horse immediately, like the horse has to get into the trailer that day, make a call. Pay someone who how knows how to calmly help support you and your horse in this situation. Call a good leader who will help your horse feel right inside again; your horse will get into the trailer. Your money will get you a tailor made lesson for your needs when you need it the most. It’s worth every penny!
One last note: Quick fixes don’t work. If you haven’t had time to learn how to build a relationship or you don’t have clear communications on which your relationship is built, then STOP! Figure out the cause of the confusion. Your job is to understand how to communicate in a way the horse understands. When you are clear in your mind, then you can communicate clearly. Success builds confidence. When you successfully communicate with your horse and you both feel confident then you are becoming a good leader. That is a far better place to live in than a world of confusion and quick fixes.
Kristin Praly -Horse Sense Education and Advocacy.