Tag Archives: acknowledge answers

How I came to understand the handling of disease.

 

How I came to understand the handling of disease.

I wanted to give you a a synapsis of a bigger blog I’m writing , that kind of got away from me as I think I used it to vent . It may not get put out there… it’s good but it does go on a bit.

So for the sake of clarification, I offer you this bit of clarity I found in understanding disease – specifically cancer.

Imagine you and your body just going along, everything seems fine, but a couple things are causing you some minor issues. You treat them or maybe ignore them as they aren’t really in your way yet. Maybe you see a Dr , take med’s, OTC’s or whatever and get through the issue by passing it over – not really addressing the root cause. God forbid we should miss a beat in this fast pace world.

Now relate that to your horses if you have them, or other animals. We go along and in our own little world we think it’s all good. We notice a couple instances where our horse gets a bit pushy, or has an attitude. Lots of people try to carrot their way out of things , instead of correcting it and setting a standard. They don’t want to have the horse not like them because they were mean. (Don’t deprive yourself of things you want even if you know they are not good for you). It’s easier, but is it?

Just this morning while feeding my colt, he got very anxious to eat and if I let that type of behavior go, he will grow to think he can just be a feisty boy and not learn to wait till his feed is placed. I say it is ok to come forward with manners, but not barge. Big life lessons! Sure it takes a bit of time, less than a minute!

Time passes and say you don’t do as I do and let things go thinking “oh he is just a baby” … well babies grow up! They don’t have to be a baby either – this is more often seen by me in well established horses, 6-12 yrs old. You live with them, you really don’t see anything as a potential issue to build for future, and don’t have time to correct anyway. Or do you??? It takes less time to pull a baby weed sprout than a full grow dandelion.

Now back to disease..

So we are going along busy busy and with out thinking really about our body speaking, we just keep taking on new symptom or old symptom getting louder. Typically we take more Otc”s for example and go along. Instant gratification. Got forbid we should stop and think. Again does it take less time now or later?? Hmm….

Time lapse… a couple yrs down the road you finally have an issue you can’t control with OTC’s or prescription stuff. Hmm ?? Dr take another x-ray, hmm? lets get a better look, we see something but we will run a CT Scan.

Results! Take you out at the knees! You have allowed parts of your body become Left Brain dominant ( quietly maneuvering for a dominant positions, stubborn, don’t like to be made to go), and take over as they have not had any instruction, or direction otherwise towards health and the balance.

Dodging OTC’s, and drugs along the way that masked the underlying issues of a whole system /body imbalance- Dis -Ease!

Getting the picture!

Your horse one day when you have a wonderful day in spring to take some time to pay attention to them, and they say, screw you! And Bam. You’re on the ground or if your lucky just had the you know what scared out of you with a display of dominant behavior.
“You want me to behave now? Listen to you now? You ignored me with my whispers now I’m screaming! You never gave me any idea you were leading before, so you’re on my turf now.”

This was my revelation a couple weeks ago as I did stalls and tried to get my head around the health crisis my family is now enduring. Somethings take longer to catch on but bottom line is when your body or your horse is injured and brushed over for too long eventually you will be called to put your big girl/boy pants on and face the music you and only you created.

Horse behavior and disease let go are both dominant bad boys! Why? lack of clear communication and time put in to keep the lines of communication open.

Then you have an issue and all of a sudden you need to step up and assume responsibility for that you have created in you and or your horse.

That’s harder than dealing with it as it comes and finding the root cause. Boredom, poor diet, emotional stressor, etc etc.

Take some time to breathe and think and in the end issues will tap on the door, not knock it down and run you over, because you didn’t take the time to listen. With horses, I say “listen with your eyes”, with your body – feel! It’s simple, every day it speaks to you… just listen.

What we create we can dismantle, and release. Whether it be self inflicted or environmental, a issue can be released and detox can happen , with time and clear communication.

Funny, I was just down in the barn doing my stalls thinking back to this post and ralised soemthign else. This whole thought process can be attributed to raiising our kids too.  That is a whole other topic of which I have an opinion. LOL

Be well~

 

 

 

 

 

Response to Literature part 2…. My opinion continues.

Part 2 of NH article response :

 

Nevertheless, NH is used to distinguish one form of horse training from more traditional styles of horsemanship. But I think this is again just a marketing strategy. It’s almost impossible to pin point anything that makes NH different from most traditional training systems.

(i) both NH and traditional use negative reinforcement principles.

 

(ii) both NH and traditional are based on (a) flooding techniques; and (b) approach and retreat techniques.

 

(iii) both NH and traditional rely on ever increasing amounts of pressure to make a horse respond.

 

There differences between most NH trainers and most traditional trainers are superficial and just around the fringes – such as the type of equipment. But even here it is hard to distinguish the two. For example, many people believe that NH does not use gadgets, but Monty Roberts is considered an NH trainer and he uses the buckstopper. Also, many people believe that NH trainers use rope halters, but Mark Rashid uses web halters and John O’Leary (who calls himself a traditional style trainer) promotes the use of rope halters in training. You could tally a list of gear that many people feel belong in one camp or the other and discover that there are trainers of either persuasion that use the same equipment.

Equipment or gadgets

Yes everyone has tools they prefer to work with. It is not a crime either if they are business savvy and market them.  I say God bless them. This is America. Lets go back to the most natural horsemen , The Native Americans.  They to had tools of choice, simple and effective but tools just the same.  Tools  are not the criminals here, it is the hands that use them that need to be held accountable.

 

(i) both NH and traditional use negative reinforcement principles.”

Hmm?? All I can say to this is a horse doesn’t stand a chance if we label ourselves as using Negative Reinforcement. I dare say some of my more Ttouch  and Clicker friends would be up in arms. 

I am really not sure what to say to this but that “Attitude is everything.”

 

(ii) both NH and traditional are based on (a) flooding techniques; and (b) approach and retreat techniques.”

Hmm? Re (a): I’m not sure of at all. My practice and learning through personal interaction and visual aids( DVD’s- books, etc), does not in any way BASE anything on Flooding. It is not a practice all horses can learn from. Some need to be taught while we watch paint dry. Others may be able to handle the faster pace of multi tasking, and more stimulus. This is my idea of flooding. But to say “Flooding” is a base of building foundation, No, sorry not on my clock, and not on the time pieces of any I have studied under in the NH world. The picture which goes with this article I guess is a form of “Flooding”. In my eyes, honestly, that is “Breaking”, breaking the spirit, there is a huge difference. Again I feel the attitude of the horse person has a lot to do with how things go forward. In my opinion, you can flood and stimulate thinking and connection, or you can flood and cause angst. All in the hands of the handler.

In regards to ( b), approach and retreat... you bet. Release teaches! The key is the release whether  it be physical contact or energetic intent, when a response is seen, the slightest glimmer , the release must happen.

Before I go on, I will say these are my opinions.  I am really just enjoying the opportunity the article has given me to really dissect my own thoughts and beliefs . This is very stimulating, heady stuff. 

 

(iii) both NH and traditional rely on ever increasing amounts of pressure to make a horse respond.”

Yes, to a certain extent. Better to apply pressure in increasing amounts until a response is seen, than kick to go, pull to stop. The key is the release. No news flash here right?

“….make a horse respond.” The word “Make” bothers me.  Anyone can make or try to make a horse comply, but where is any horsemanship in that?

I’m not sure how much traditional , old school English, practiced this. I was raised traditional English Equitation and do not recall any variation in pressure being taught. This was quite a few yrs ago!( 70′s)  Things were very mechanical. As I got older and developed my own style, and began to do more X/C work , fox hunting, hunter paces , eventing , etc I was taught some finer things. Innately as a child I was not comfortable with the whole picture of  Equitation, so as soon as I had the opportunity, I left that and learned to ride with my horse, Blue Chip Lancer, The best first horse a girl could have! Anyway,  bottom line is, it all is in relation to pressure, just given and taken away to achieve the appropriate response.

What is Pressure? Just sitting on a horse is pressure. Saddling is pressure, trailer loading is pressure. Its part of the world we live in.

For an example, If we do not add pressure behind the drive line to move forward, either on the ground or in saddle, how else do we begin the conversation to go forward in motion and in partnership. Some one has to take the lead and give direction .

Pressure is unfortunately a thing horses in the domestic world have to deal with to fit into our lives/world. Pressure however is not non existent in the wild. It is portrayed in games played from foal-hood on up. Pressure is understood by horses.  It is a herd dynamic which I value. It is their unspoken language we can only hope to tap into and use as effectively. It is not always physical contact pressure but energetic/ with intention. Going back to our prior mention of Pat Parelli, his foundation protocol, follows as closely as possible the interactions between horses, using physical and energetic intention.

I think the use of pressure is a given. It is the method and intention in with which it is used and applied that should be discussed. If the  technique  is respectful and allows for 2 way communication, and is not about the goal, but the horse, I’ll look at it.

Any tool is only as effective as the hands that hold it. As horses handlers we take a huge responsibility on to not screw up. I use many different tools in my facility because I find , as I said before, no horse is alike and some respond better to Ttouch  work , others to Parelli style, and then there is the wonderful world of in-between.  Ultimately I feel we must remain flexible in our handling styles in order to not use or  apply pressure to maintain “Control” of our direct line intention/plan for the day.   Whatever the day calls for we have to be ready to work with them not against them. Sometimes the day will totally take on a theme of its own. Use what they give you and make lemonade. I know that sounds really cliche, but it usually works out well and keeps the relationship solid. It keeps  your horse from looking at you as if to say, “So  you are a typical human.” To work in the more alternative world of NH is to not be typical or Traditional. It is to think out of the box.

In conclusion think of this:

What a great day it will be when NH is considered the “Norm”, The Traditional! The Go To way to train a race horse, or other sport horse, and start a colt.

Also A word….. Accountability.

Stay tuned for part 3~

 

My response to literature… Well, my opinion anyway.

 

My take on the NH post in the Vermont Horse Community group by Ross Jacobs/ Good Horsemanship

There is no such thing as Natural Horsemanship as a training concept. It is a brand name used for the marketing and repackaging of traditional style horsemanship. Its like Hoover has come to mean a vacuum cleaner, but it’s actually just a brand of vacuum cleaner.

 

Tom Moates wrote an excellent chapter about this in his book “A Horses Thought – A Journey into Honest Horsemanship.” You can read what Tom has to say about Natural Horsemanship by going to his web site.

 

NH started out as a term Pat Parelli adopted for his school of horsemanship that he was marketing. He used the term Natural Horsemanship as a catchy branding. Since then however, it has become synonymous with what many people consider is a type of horsemanship. It has taken on a wider meaning that extends beyond Pat Parelli’s specific systematized training. The term has become much more general in its meaning. So general in fact that most people can’t really define what NH is anymore.

 

repackaging of traditional style horsemanship”.

 

I have to respectfully disagree here. In my opinion, there is nothing Traditional about being in the Natural world. Granted there are times when for extreme cases, the last ditch effort to have a horse come around is to go to the extremes and maybe lay a horse down. I have seen the best do this and if it were not done, and the ground rules set firm, the horse, very dominant and spoiled, treated like a pet and it went bad, would be off to the meat market. The only hope would be before it hurt some one badly or itself.  That horse today is still a poster child for when  you have to go there. He is a perfect horse! Even in this extreme need to find a solution a more feeling natural approach is better than what is depicted in the Photo. 

 

NH started out as a term Pat Parelli adopted for his school of horsemanship that he was marketing. He used the term Natural Horsemanship as a catchy branding. Since then however, it has become synonymous with what many people consider is a type of horsemanship. It has taken on a wider meaning that extends beyond Pat Parelli’s specific systematized training. The term has become much more general in its meaning. So general in fact that most people can’t really define what NH is anymore.”

 

As a Parelli supporter and being very proud and thankful of it, “Natural Horsemanship” has become a very big business no doubt. Mr. Parelli is a master and has more natural ability in his little finger than I could hope for. Knowing Mr. Parelli’s more Traditional rough around the edges background in the rodeo world, he had an innate ability when opportunity knocked to see and be, a softer way. There is no way a person involved in the Parelli program who really studies it, can not take the road less traveled.   In my opinion, this is the way of Natural Horsemanship.

 

Maybe Mr Parelli, is the poster child for NH, but Hoover, is a great brand too! I say, well done and move on. No grudges, no chips on shoulders, just great appreciation for the doors that opened for all the others who followed, including me. 

 

As there is no horse alike and no human either, NH has to be, and become individualized. For me, I try to emulate my mentors, visualize moves and sayings and techniques. Ultimately though, its me, in my time, my environment, with my horse(s), so I have to make it mine, ( work for me and who I am). I practice what I preach and express this to all my students.

 

For Sable View it’s Hybrid Horsemanship, for others Good Horsemanship, or Honest Horsemanship, No Dust Horsemanship, TTouch, Clicker. these are all forms of more natural horse foundation or re-foundation work.  Regardless of the name, it needs to be  harmless , helpful, and inspiring, with results that make a positive difference in the horse world. No matter how big or small . I always say the reason there are so many clinicians out there is to suit the many different types of humans who seek help reconnecting with their horses. More times than not its the human who needs to reconnect with themselves and the horse is simple the ultimate teacher… patiently waiting for the right answer! I know this is true for me.

 

I will continue to segment the article and give my take on it in future posts.  It is a meaty article, and I appreciate how it causes me to  reflect, assess and appreciate who I am,  what I do, and how I do it.

 

 

An awesome re awakening: A Ph.D and my Horsemanship Journey, what??

Less than a week ago I had a great conversation with Brian Reid of HKTWH with its intent to work out some details re schedule an event spring 2013 at Sable View. Early- mid spring — fyi :)

The call was so not about the scheduling and I’m so happy. Oh sure we discussed some  details but it was the inspiration  absorbed and  the direction the call took me in that is truely awesome.

We discussed  visions and experiences, and how things  line up for a reason. Im all over that. We discussed  past  workshops Brian had held durring th yr, and the outcomes that Brenda inabled. The thinking was very “Forward” . I like Forward!  The negative stuff can’t stick if you’re on a roll. Your horse can’t buck as bad and twist if he is moving forward. Hold him back and bottle him up and , you better be ready to deal with the energy.

As a funny off shoot story here, I had a horse long ago, Oliver ( Ollie). An Irish Sport Horse. We fox hunted, evented into Prelim. He was cool. Anyway a couple of his “things” were , He would spanish walk  naturally, not taught.  So cool. Not a typical Fox hunting thing to do!  It was so easy to  ask him to do. Going down the dirt rds, while roading hounds , all fancy..HAHAHAHA !  I would have him do it long. Most of the time it was requested as every one loved to see it!  He would also on a flat our run across a field do “Airs above the ground” and leep out of his bell boots. Litterally they would go flying almost every time. Not rip but fly!  He was so exhuberant! Just loved life! Funny to other to watch. It was not a scary thing , powerful?  You bet, awesome  in fact, but not scary. Why?? Because once I knew it was his thing, it became  ”Normal”, ( great normal right!) and most importantly it happened with forward motion.  It happend all in stride and it was done and we went on. What a horse! What a teacher!

Now back to my conversation with  BR: Durring our conversation a couple names I hadn’t thought about in a while were brought up. TED (www.TED.com) and another  Brene Brown( www.BreneBrown.com). Its funny how things go full cycle, in this case re-appearing when the student is ready. The word “Vulnerable” played a big part in our talk. We discussed its meaning in some diferent ways . Not suprising I related it to my horsemanship journey as Brian discussed how  his experience with Ms. Browns work was still unfolding new  pages to get through. It all fit.

After our call I was fully charged and went straight to my computer to search out both teaching topics. What came from that is I noted a great opportunity to share with my daughter who is a Jr in HS . The Massechesetts Conference for Woman in Boston MA. www.maconferenceforwomen.org.  Dr. Brene Brown  is one of the key Note speakers, as well as Deepak Chopra and others, WOW!  Long story short  we and a few of her school mates and teachers are going .

The word Vulnerable is probably thought of in one main light by most of society, Including me till now.  Its a strength, not a weakness.  It allows us to do what  I have been prompted to do on a few occations at clinics. Get rid of the baggage and accept you as “Enough” . This is not normal for us humans, its a tall order for a lot of us.  I have had a manta developed  for a few yrs now after a ground breaking Parelli clinic with Jerry Williams, (one of many I might add), and I still  fight the negaitve tendancies. Hmm…guess Im not perfect!  My montra is “I AM GOOD ENOUGH”  made up of very  poignant words and phrases for which the mantra is an Acronym.

If we want to be real with our horses and have our horse be real with us, we need to be real with ourselves. They can see throught us like nothing else and when we even begin to get real they respond instantly. No invisibility cloaks to hide behind. Just be you in all your “Imperfect glory”,  and YOU are enough!

Stay tuned….

 

 

A ride with out Granny!

This week I took Tru out on the trails again . Rode Pop, lead Sarah and he toddled along.  We were about 1/3 the way through our ride and I looked back and NO Tru! Sarah ws looking back too.  Ok so I Know he will wander off trial but not that far. Hmm? I stopped and called to him , I, we, heard him far off. Then very quickly he ran up to us and we moved off.  Wasnt sure what had happened but it was all good so we  went on. Then again he did the same thing and  I caught him out of the corner of my eye just stop and go the other way . Calling out  and running back. I was baffled. We Pop , Sarah and I, stood , listened , called, and in less than a minute he was back at full speed. I let him suckle off of Sarah while we gathered out thoughts. Nothing was different about the ride we were on.. what could it be.

Then the third time and he was gone back even farther and calling out.  I called to give him a point of reference to come back to and it dawned on me he was missing his Granny who always up till this ride bringing up the rear. He was looking for her. He is very attentive  to all who is where in the herd members while turned out, Most especially Granny.

He was really  tuckered this time, came flyin back to us. We  held hard for a minute or so to gather our brain and began our ride again. I was hoping this was the last ventrue, It was. I think he finally realised she was not there and he best stick with us. We as a team , Pop , Sarah and I, saw him through his  Moments. Points for us!

What did I learn ? well among other things…  Tru is RBE when change happens.” The sky is falling!!!” He REALLY  Likes patterns to fall into to keep him settled. Facinating to see him develop. I see LBE as well but that is the kid in him . Mouthy, curious and funny!

Lets face it he is a mixed bag. He loves to dominate at play! Gets all huffy when tired, like a kid having a stomping fit!

Great Kid number 5! Or 6 if we include hubby!

LOL

Stay tuned for more Tru adventures!

 

 

 

Watching Troubadour grow, and allowing him to develop

Mr personality! You lookin’ at me? of course you are!

Today , a day off 2 months old, I took Tru out with his Mom, and big friend Popeye. I lead Sarah off Pop and the little  guy followed along. We traveled up the rd a bit to the trail head and  had a couple trots and a couple  breaks to munch on grass.  Bugs were horrific.

When  Tru found an opening  on the way home he decided to be adventurous and scoot ahead of us.  Too funny!   So great to see him explore uninhibited. He is developing so well. He is confident in most things. Still has an opinion which I acknowledge and move through if need be.

On our rd ride back to barn he decided he would lead us home. Popeye looked at him like , “Yeah right, shove over and get back in line”. Pop  stuck his nose out to Tru’s butt and shoved him lighlty. Tru took the hint and moved over and let us thru and he snuck back in behind Mom.

He loves Poppy and has a healthy respect for his size( in comparison). In fact I think he really looks up to him. I love going to the barn and seeing Sarah, Tru and Pop sharing a stall together, just chillin’ and staying cool.

Allowing Tru to  grow and explore and devolop as naturally as possible is such a gift. Im so happy I know what I know. Raised Sarah( Mom) the same way but I know more now and have a real level of confidence in “My way” of doing things, “Hybrid Horsemanship”, than I did then ( 8 yrs ago).

Tru is teaching me already. What works and then again what doesn’t. Then, how to find a way that works for him while still not  micro managing.

I can totally  understand how easy that would be and  how much more time effecient it would be … but not gonna happen here! We will take the time it takes!

Stay tuned for more updates!

 

 

 

Proud to see them moving on!

Lots of time and thought and emotion has gone into a few select horses who have crossed my path over the last yr. Im happy to say that the last two are readying to move on in their lives with their owners or a new owner.

Support, wisdom and insight can be given only so long and then  everyone needs to step up and out and find how to make it their own. So much potential for  these horses but as not mine I have to also let go and say thank you to them  for lessons learned: Life lessons, horsemanship lessons, and managing humans lessons! the toughest of all.  The horses are the easy part! 

Everyone is on their own journey and  I can see so much more that these humans can gain from these partners they have. Bottom line is, it is not the right time, the students aren’t ready.  This is such a frusteration for me but again a lesson , acknowledging what I know and accepting what is. Tough!

I am very happy to say well done to the horses and best of luck going forward. Never stop teaching  your humans, whomever they may be, especially the hard lessons they really need !

 

 

 

 

Refelctions from an Amelia Kinkade Animal Communications course 7/12

 

Lessons keep coming: Refelctions from an Amelia Kinkade Animal Communications course

Amelia Kinkade, ( http://ameliakinkade.com), what an amazing oportunity to meet and grow with her as a guide.

After arriving home from my clinic with Amelia, my outlook was eased. We learned a lot , got a lot of affirmations to our communicative abilities, but also were asked to reflect inwards.

We were asked to release and forgive ourselves. Not easy to do. But I think everyone (40 students), made a good leap in the right direction, including me, LOL

We were also asked to define “Home” or “It” by Brian Reid, ( http://horsesknowthewayhome.com) .

Yes, as an added treat we were able to also learn from Brian Reid of HKTWH and the wonderful Shire mare Brenda Lee. The joining of these three teachers was huge!

Most of my time with my horses or those of boarders or students is not affirmed. By this I mean much of what I sence is gut and I go with it. I have learned its good enough and usually darn close. This past weekend I got a ton of affirmations that I was on track. My daily routine is practice enough I guess. I always take into account that little voice for me and for the horses.

Going to this weekend I was a bit unsure as I hadnt really been tested so to speak. We had our first group reading of the day after lunch on day 2( I had jumped in on day 2 due to prior commitment at my own farm) . I was called on by Amelia to say what I had received, so I did. No pressure! Freakily enough it was in sync with Amelia’s readings as well. Yicks. Some things I did not say she mentioned too. Omg it was huge. Next time I will literally write everything down.

After arriving home and thinking about things, with a new found depth of awarness and confidence , I realised a lot. I found what home was for me, or a clearer vision of it. Also a new depth on how to really be with my horses. I re assesesd again what my 2012 purpose(s) was, and found a great goal for me that also backed up just being with my horse(s). Funny how a detour leads to a better path to begin with. Its all a great game, and Im a willing player.

A lot of this is unexplainable, as you can imagine. A world reknowned animal communicator and a world reknowned “Life Coach “ working together. Things went deep. As deep as you would allow.

Where am I personally / professionally now? What were my revelations to move to “MY” next level?? Can’t tell it’s personal :)

Each of us has our own journey to travel and mine has been quite a ride. I am so excited now to see a new path to my ultimate goal .

I say, “New path”, but its just an off shoot of where I started yrs ago. Im only following what my horses lead me to. Its good for them and better for me. Thank God I’m an intuative person and even more, willing to go with it no matter what the “Norm” thinks!

***Brian Reid /HKTWH will be at Sable View in 2013. Look for the event info, and be amazed at where the experience take you. Personal and professional growth and awareness. http://horsesknowthewayhome.com

***Amelia Kinkade will be back to VT in May of 2013( still in the works ). Look for this and more up dates at

www.sableview.com

 

 

 

The first impressions of a colt…. “And you are??? Dump the ego!”

“True” will do it for you! True is a horse in small form. Okay technically a large pony by breed but  who measuring!  Honestly I think horse do all the time.

They measure your intention, emotions and demeanor all the time, from birth~

Rescently True had some visitors who ASSUMED way to much. I was suprised at the lack of insight myself. Before I Knew it Sarah’s stall was filled ( door open to paddock TG!) with 2 humans and she and True. By nature Sarah is very curiuos but also very energetically charged. All horses are  very perceptive, some take offence  to in your face human interaction more so than others. Sarah is one of those and  Bubba the same. You need to earn your place next to him. As it should be ! Immediatley I saw the MAKE we humans take on with animals, horses to stay on topic. And when we have a smaller animal we feel  even more able to dominate and or push around and handle. No real regard given to the natural emotion of the horse in question.

This was an amazing event to witness. Very purpose driven . I was  in the isle and  then went to stall side. I wish I  had a video to show. I was so taken off guard, with in a minute the whole thing was over, not tramatic visually but to the sensative nature of this mom and foal it was not a good first impression of these humans. The  message was given to leave stall, as the littlest one  was not going to be “Handled”.

So very cool to see the world through this little ones eyes.  More stories to come.

 

 

Listen with your eyes, slow down and be open to re-learning.

Great feed back!

Thanks for listening.

 

Sometimes , more often than not , I find myself  asking the universe to slow down and stop sending input. Do you ever get that way?

“For me, once I send the intention out , I know to buckle down for the goodness to come flooding in. Among the goodness is the greatness of learning”.

Learning comes from Students, horses, and life in general. Some time  either side of the equation has to be ready to Re Learn. 

As an instructor/mentor I am always  learning. That is my job. Best job in the world! Never ending self improvement.

In some cases I’m Re-Learning old things come new again. Funny how that works!  Some times its  brought to my attention while I am in learning mode other times it comes to me as I am working through things with my horses,( still learning mode, LOL  ),  or a student’s horse, to find the right answer.

If I ask a question and don’t get the right answer, I  ”Listen with my eyes, slow down and prepare to get potentially uncomfortable as I learn the lesson for the day” =  what the right equation is to find the answer I’m looking for. We must listen to our horses. Inappropriate behavior is not natural for them , its caused by something, It is a communication.

Why do you think this is so  hard for some people to do? ( humble pie…looking in the mirror and accepting your accountability to the situation?).

As a learner I am very introverted. I like  some hand holding, and not a lot of chaos.  I like to observe a lot: extremely visual! I take it home and  replay it in my minds eye while I attempt to emulate the maneuver ,  task or job to be completed.

Horses  , some of them, learn in the same way. They need time, and no chaos! Softness with corrections maybe so, but not with emotion. The real test is keep the emotion out of it for all. Often times  a horse is pushed to a point where they  feel all they  can do is be explosive, mis behave extremely, to get attention.

This is an introvert on the edge! Kinda sounds funny as I type it but its true. Like “Donkey ” in the movie Shrek, “Im a Donkey on the edge.”

In the wrong inexperienced hands( direct line and  predatory, not emotionally fit), this horse will be  man handled to comply: suppressed if you will. We all know it happens .  No one likes this! But then why don’t those who get this way see there is a problem and seek to address it in a more communicative manor. Not to say my idea of True Horsemanship should be  all flowers and  fluff , not at all, but horses  communicate in the purest of ways. If we can learn to respond accordingly and appropriately things will change.

They don’t want to win the game they want to be a part of a fair game. None of us as humans like being involved in a game or discussion which is so one sided. For me I know I just shut down, stop listening and or just walk away. Lots of signs are given prior to this departure, ( mental or physical), but if Im not thought of,  I’m gone. Being human we tend to have a mostly rational response and it is understood, Usually. Our counterpart see’s or perceives a rift and should respond accordingly to re open the door to play or communication. The results can vary depending on the degree of shut down. Horses, depending on the type of  brain they have  can be very rational and calculating in response or just blow. Don’t you love it when you see a horse get the message across . Or depending on the  clueless — ness of the human( Sorry), begin to try.

EX: Don’t think they don’t know where your foot is!  And suddenly  feel nothing from pressure to move off. This is a mild but classic case. Gotta love it!

A good leader, if ever caught in this situation, no one is perfect, (we cant be, we are human),would probably catch the rift before it grew too wide, and if ego was left out,  offer a softer solution and communication would be more 2 way. I do not think that this is being wishy washy. Here you get into a bit of the  school of

” You can’t let them think they’ve won”. How many of you still hear that today around horses. Talk about Human EGO! Again, horse don’t want to win they just want to be a participating member of your herd of 2. They want to know where they stand in your world . They want safety, and comfort. Ok food  and water too but lets hope that goes without saying. When I feel safe and comfortable I have fun.

Don’t you want your horses to have fun, and feel confident to express themselves? Good question huh? Do you know what that requires from us?

A great book “Play to Win ” by Larry and Hersch Wilson, discribes this perfeclty. Might I add this is an amazing book , full of Aha moments, that in  the first chapter clarified what I was going through in my life but couldnt  pin point or discribe to others. I had begun this transformaton and though aware of  it , so much was untangible.

” When we are talking about playing to win in the adventure of our lives, the traditional definitions of winning and losing don’t hold up. Of course , there are times when we need to call on our competative nature to accomplish what we have set out to accomplish. But competing to defeat someone is only one way of responding to the events we encounter. In fact, in the great adventure of our lives, there is no one to defeat.” P 22

In my world what I have found is you need to know what you want and like and will accept as a foundation to teach from with human and horses. But , no person is alike and no horse either , so to assume your way is the only way is quite bold. This holds true for  learners and  teachers. Guess we call it  being Closed Minded! Not seen too much in horses unless pushed too far, for too long and they are on shut down to humans.

From a  learners point of view, USUALLY…  taking what you learn and  making it your own is the very right thing to do. Its you , your horse , your job, so buck up and assume responsibility for your own decisions. Don’t  try it and say , “Ah this  doesn’t work,” because you got a response that backed you off. That my friends is communication“Listen with our eyes”. Admit you don’t know it all and ask for help for sure after  honest attempts have been made by you to find neutral.  This is the process of learning. So what if you might have caused the issue,We usually do. Welcome to the group.  It, thankfully to horses being so forgiving, can usually be fixed. As stated before , usually there are things that happen before the end result. If we all slow down and listen we might be able to not have to go there. It is here, at the ”Cross roads of communication,” that I see a lot of  the inconsistency, and hopping from one  thing to another to avoid  Accountability, (responsibility), to  your own  inadequacies, mistakes,  errors,  is so normal these days , kids and horses suffer. It’s not the  tools or the technique it’s the implementor.

I hear about  this a lot, and eventually see it first hand as  those who are ready to Re-learn( three cheers!!), come to me and ask for  help  finding the  way back to  a better relationship with here horses.  Challenges are opportunities to  grow and get better. With  horse I say they see you and raise you one or ten! Can you meet the challenge, find the way, and be the  leader, the Accountable/Responsible  human leader they need and are asking you to be?

It may not seem like asking when things get weird,( small things were over looked and now it huge), and  your sweet little horse  finally has taken a stand. Someone wants to have a say in the game plan. We can do one of 2 things,  go direct line , or “Listen with your eyes, slow down, and be open to Re Learning”. 

No one thing is perfect including who we look at in the mirror.  But it is that person, who if going it alone, with no willingness to look  imperfect for fear of looking like a failure, who them must eventually come to terms with  the big questions …

Whose fault is this really? Who or what is holding me back?

A very good friend/mentor worked through this with me and others over  a couple summers of intense horsemanship clinics,( not always about the riding), and  last time the group was asked

” What’s holding you back? “, I was very proud to say “Me”.  I got it loud and clear. Open the trunk, put my baggage on the corner and drive away!

No one else makes my final decisions,  plays with my horses, rides them , interacts with my circles of fiends. If I’m going to be what  I want to be, I need to be accountable. The past is over its time for many of us to move on!

Speaking as a horse owner and professional it’s a hard process to go thru but we can’t blame the horse worlds top names, or our childhood, or what ever we might come up with, for our inadequacies.  Its us,  practicing imperfectly, and not Listening with our eyes .  Horses serve up humble pie so well.

If your horse is asking you to step up, it’s the universe opening the door to a learning curve, will you accept the challenge  and  see where it takes you, professionally , personally?  Sometimes it’s not what we want revealed about ourselves.

Again an excerpt from the  book by Larry and Hersch Wilson called “Play to Win”..  discussing Playing to win, or Playing to not loose.

Playing to not loose: Avoiding situations where we might lose, fail, be emotioanlly hurt, or be rejected. p 23

Playing to Win: Consciously going as far as I can with all that I have and learn from what ever happens. p 25

Welcome to  true horsemanship… let the games begin.