Saturday, January 16, 2016

How Well Do You Know Your Horse

How well do you know your horse? This sounds like a simple question.  But in reality its not. When answering questions like this we want to stick to the facts and not go on assumptions. Some of us think we know our horses so well and yet they always amaze us when we learn something new about them. The truth is, there is always more to learn.

Many of us know our Horses pretty well. We know when we approach the gate whether they will meet us there, leave in a hurry, or not acknowledge us at all. Some of us know that they meet us at the gate expecting a treat or that they are truly happy to see us. Many do not know the difference. The same goes for the horse that runs off in a hurry. Are they playing games? Do they not like us or what we have in store for them? Do "They" even know why they are running?

Most of the time we miss out on the truth because we are focused on our own agenda and miss all the little nuances that tell the rest of the story. Or we guess at reasons and make up excuses 

Most of us don't even know its possible to know all the ins and outs of our Horse, so they don't even know to try. 

If we stick to facts it will help us learn the rest. For instance. 
How old are they?
What breed or breeds?
What color?
Do they have any special markings? 
What is their feeding schedule?
How much do they eat?
How much do they waste?
Do they have any tickle spots?
Do they have any favorite spots?
Do they have any "don't touch" spots?
Where is their favorite place to stand or lay down, (in the stall or their turnout)? 
Do they poop and pee in the same spot or area all the time?   
How well do they know your cues and signals?
What cues and signals do they know?
Do they have any habits, (good or bad)?
Can you tell what they're thinking without guessing?
Many many more questions can be asked.
The facts here are really whats important. The simple facts are your key to understanding. Its not important to know why in most cases. Just that it is or isn't is usually enough. In most cases, if we start looking for reasons, we often end up with excuses. A good example for this is, I was evaluating a horse at Pony Club for a girl. I noticed the horse was very stiff and not bending softly and commented on it. The girl pointed out a scare on the horses side do to either an injury or surgery, I don't remember exactly, but she said this was why he was stiff and can't bend well, I then moved to the horses hip and started to tickle the back edge of his ribs to test her theory. Wouldn't you know the horse came all the way around just as easy as could be just to see what I was up to. I did this on both sides with similar results. So her search for why became a reason and for her it was FACT that the horse was not capable of bending softly, when really the horse just learned to brace and resist. If we keep it simple, we can make better sense of it all. As time moves on, we can ask more complex questions and answer them as "Matters of Fact" as well.

Most of us are unaware of how well our horses know us. In most cases,  they know us better than we know ourselves. The reason for this is their ability to stick to the facts and not get caught up in any what ifs. They do things, then, they measure our response to it. That's all they need to know. Simple, but so effective as an instinct for survival. Just remember this. If we are responding to them, then they are in the leader role. So transition your response to them into you asking them to respond to you for a length of time that shows you they understand.  If they do that, you are going to do this until they understand. A slap or scolding that only lasts a few seconds is not very effective. But a polite ask for a turn on the haunches asking that same shoulder to move away from you after they walk into you with their shoulder, will make so much more sense to them. You may have to get assertive at times, but explaining what you want works better than a no or a punishment. 

For us. We tend to have self projected images of what we want things to be. This tends to effect our perception of reality. Its great to have a goal, but we need to realize what is needed to get there. Not just pretend we are there already. There is a big difference and many stages in between. We even tend to do it with our own self image, pretending to be who we want to be, not who we really are at the moment. We have all seen the children who are not very well behaved, but the parent only wants to believe the best in their child so they ignore the truth. WE ALL DO THIS. Whether with Ourselves, Friends, Spouses, Children, or Pets. Its not a bad thing to believe and expect the best, but it can be a problem if we are missing out on the truth. Sticking to the facts of what is or isn't can help us see the real picture.

So stick to the facts. Understanding simple facts will lead to understanding more complex facts. Done in a proper progression it can lead to an unimaginable understanding.
Thanks for reading along.

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