Going at the horses pace allows us to give the ‘timeline’ to the horse and when we do this we learn that things can’t be forced. The horse has to be ready for the next step and if we build his education slowly and methodically then each next step will be easy to negotiate because the building blocks of education have been put down and we’ve waited for the horse to say that they are ready for the next one.
YES….our horses are our teachers and we need to learn to LISTEN to what they’re saying to us. Their feedback when we ask something of them is the part of the conversation that is crucial to how we interact with them. Whether that feedback is positive or negative we need to take note and learn how to have more positive conversations. Is the feedback telling us we asked the question correctly or incorrectly for them? are they saying that they do or don’t like something? Are they saying they understand or is it saying they don’t understand?
I like to think of it as going over to my best friends house. I always try to take something to the meeting, it’s polite and nice to give and receive. I always try to have time to have a ‘catching up’ conversation with my friend, say hello to the rest of the family and animals and then have a conversation about what we’re going to be doing, where we are going etc. This is called communicating and it takes two or more parties to have a conversation.
For me, it’s the same when I visit our herd, or when seeing friends or students herds too. I introduce myself, ask them how they are doing, check them out by stroking them all over, taking in whether they’re relaxed or anxious and then asking if they want to be connected to me in that moment. If they walk off I ask again but make sure I ask in an even softer way maybe, if they’re anxious I do my best to find a way to introduce relaxation into the conversation so that they realise they can be calm and happy around me.
So, to learn what our horses are trying to teach us we need to really listen to what they are saying through their body language and find ways to have more harmonious conversations and a willing partner in our equine pursuits.