Thursday, September 4, 2014

Problems Resulting From Poor Communication

Poor communication is the reason we get misunderstanding or a complete lack of understanding all together. Many problems come from this. I put together 3 categories for the result of poor communication. Starting with the least severe to the most.  I will explain each one a little more below.
1)  The Horse won't trust you.
2)  The Horse won't like you.
3)  The Horse will despise you.

When it comes to our Horsemanship, communication is our foundation. Our foundations are never finished. They always need maintenance and sometimes expansion. Without it there are many things that lack understanding. Not just that the horse doesn't understand us, but we don't understand the horse. A good solid foundation gives you and your horse a really good understanding of each other. I see many horses each year being ridden without having any form of foundation. Many people think a foundation is just getting a horse to accept a saddle and rider and have some directional control. A true foundation is being able to have an in depth two way conversation with your horse. Being able to communicate with each body part as well as having control over the horses emotions. If your having any problems with your horse at all. No matter what the problem is, its do to, in some way, poor communication.

1) The Horse won't trust you.
If your horse doesn't understand you or your intentions clearly enough, they won't trust you. A horse that doesn't trust you will be more likely to be very hesitant or very nervous. It can show up at any time and in any situation. This horse might react to its fear in many different ways. Like freeze up and not move, or bolt off quickly. Even though this is the least severe problem of poor communication, its bad enough and very dangerous. The lack of good communications leads people to think that the problem just happened out of the blue and they never saw it coming. Or they will make an excuse like, My horse don't like vets, or my horse doesn't like the trailer... Etc...Etc...Having a good foundation in place based on communication will build the trust and minimize any problems you may get like this. Mainly because you will see it coming or know your horses needs and respond to them appropriately.

2) The Horse won't like you.
This horse may or may not have some understanding of your wants or intentions. I have seen horses with this problem and they still do most of the things asked of them. They sometimes learn its just easier to respond. Whether they do or not they learn to not like you because of your method of communication. It could be that you are asking to much or being to forceful. It could be that you don't pay any attention to where you are and whats around you when you ask for something. It could also be that the horse has voiced some concerns to you and you either never understood them or ignored their needs. There are many other examples I could give.

A horse that doesn't like you will be more likely to not try for you. They may even purposely do everything but what you want them to. They will not have any concern for you at all if a problem arises. Even if the horse is responding to your requests, you can tell if they don't like you because they will not acknowledge you or even look at you. This horse may or may not be more dangerous than the one above depending on how much they dislike you. Good communication practices can not only get better understanding between you and your horse. But it can also get your horse to accept you, and with consistency they will learn to appreciate you. When your horse appreciates you, that's when the magic happens.

3) The Horse will despise you.
Like the horse that doesn't like you. This horse is just one step further. They may be even very well trained and have a good understanding of your wants and needs. But poor communication on your part will be what creates this and all the problems that come with it. This is the most dangerous because they will be more likely to run you down, bite, kick, buck or rear. This horse will need you to go right back to basics and build a hole new foundation from scratch. The most important part of this foundation will be your ability to listen and understand the horses needs and to respond appropriately to them.

I didn't want to make this to long to read so I kept it brief. In all three examples things are interchangeable. You may have a little of all three going on in your relationship with your horse. Some might have such mild cases that it goes unnoticed. Our goal should be to recognize even the slightest misunderstanding. Whether it be our own misunderstanding or the horses, and work toward better understanding. Our Horsemanship Classes and Clinics can help you learn to see whats going unnoticed. We can help you learn how to develop a heightened awareness and give some techniques and concepts to help you progress. This is also the reason I write these Blog posts. We hope they help in some way.
Thanks for reading along.