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July 2006
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JULY 2006 • VOLUME 11 • ©HORSES For LIFE™ Magazine


  UNDERSTANDING THE WAYS OF A HORSE.

Listening to our Horses

The first step as a  trainer is to learn to communicate with the mind and nature of a horse. If we are willing to take time and patience to empathize with his nature, the results of our training can become more rewarding and harmonious.  Children who grow up around horses  learn about the responsibility of caring for an animal. They find that a horse is dependant upon them, for feeding and the whole of their welfare. This education can reveal itself in many aspects of life, as skills developed whilst looking after horses, can be used in our every day situations.  Whilst we learn more about the horse, we will also be learning more about ourselves, which can help us to progress as individuals.

 Can you remember the last time you apologized for a thoughtless word or action?  Sadly, we all at times, hurt and offend those around us. If we apologize and say, ‘I’M SORRY, I really didn’t mean to hurt you’, we then hope to restore some love and trust to the relationship.

  The horse does NOT comprehend the words ‘I AM SORRY!!’ Our verbal apologies are meaningless to our equine friends. When we train our horses and constantly ask too much of them, we cannot use apologetic words as they have no meaning to the horse. It is our responsibility to maintain a relationship of harmony where the horse can feel confident and we are worthy of his trust. The responsibility of leadership is in our hands, this creates an increased self-awareness of our actions and feelings. In our efforts to show leadership, we need to demonstrate self-control in our actions. This will in time create respect from the horse and he can gain confidence in his own identity. We will be attempting to re-create the situation of the herd, where the horse accepts that we are the more dominant member.

The horse is a group animal and he needs to find the place where he fits into the hierarchy of the herd structure. We therefore need to establish herd dominance not by bullying or demonstrating abusive behaviour but through confident and repetitive reinforcement. We will become more confident in our communications as we gain more knowledge of the horse and his nature.




Horses Are Blessed with Incredible Memories

Horses are blessed with incredible memories which can make training very easy for us. They will however remember previous experiences, both good and bad, whether lessons from yesterday or years ago. Regretfully, this can be true for the horse who patiently tolerates abuse and mis-understanding. He will never forget being bullied or the person who inflicted this trauma upon him.

                                                THE HORSE IN THE HERD

If we learn more about the horse in his natural surroundings, this can help us gain more understanding of his nature and ways.

If you study horses as a group, you can learn much of interest, as each member has a position or status within the herd. Some are dominant while others take a less assertive role. At the head of the herd is the strong willed, experienced, elderly mare, who has a position of authority which she exerts on the other group members. The stallion of the herd also has to accept her supremacy. One of his main roles is to alert the herd of potential threat or danger.

From their earliest days, the foals form relationships within the group and behaviour patterns begin to evolve.

                            

                         

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