Does your horse understand you? Have you spent the time, not teaching her, or "training" her, but simply allowing her to understand you? Recently I spent the evening watching a versatility show and noticed riders operating in a different realm than their horses. I noticed too how some riders seemed to possess two different personalities. One personality outside the ring while waiting their turn, and a totally different one inside.
|Kessy understands me!|
We hear so much about bonding, partnering and joining up with our horses, and too often what's forgotten is simple understanding. Before you and your horse can truly bond, she needs to understand you. Sure she understands your signals, cues … and you think you understand her, but have you allowed her to understand you?
There is a huge difference between a horse cooperating with their person, and truly understanding their person. Remember, a horse is very quick to read us and understand our attitude, posture and motives, and these barriers could prohibit them from deeply understanding their person.
What do I mean by understanding us? Think about your friends and family. Do they always communicate in the same manner with you? Do you with them? … But when they do something that seems out of character you realize it's out of character and "understand" them. You understand they may be upset, anxious, even hurt or angry. You understand they are not displaying their true inner being in that moment, and you take it in stride.
Sure when you act "out of character" with your horse they will respond, obey, even cooperate, but it will also confuse them. And each time we do this, it chips away a tiny bit of their trust in us. Think about friends you might have, around whom you sometimes feel as if you must, "walk on eggshells." That is the feeling your horse will develop around you, if you haven't taken the time to allow them to truly understand you.
It's easy to help your horse truly understand you, and requires no special training, clinics or instructors. First we must truly want our horse to understand us, in our hearts, and thoughts. Second we must spend time, a good deal of it, just being with them. Not feeding, grooming, riding or training – Just being in their company ... Walk with her, sit with her and very important, talk with her. Slow down, allow her to come to you, mentally. The neat thing is, as she begins to understand you more deeply, you will her as well. That then, is a true partnership, and when folks watch you and your horse they'll see two beings so in sync they act as one. Not two beings each operating in their own realm.
Gitty Up ~ Dutch Henry