Impatience, not your friend—or your horses. We’ve all seen it, a horse handler giving a command over and over to a confused horse. Their voice becomes more excited, louder and high pitched and the result is often not what the handler wanted. We’ve all been guilty of practicing a little impatience ourselves, too. Haven’t we? Impatience never, ever, not a single time helps anything go correctly. Ever. Not in life and never with horses.
|Kessy and me takin' it slow together|
Think about the times you’ve seen toddlers and youngsters in the store tugging on their mother shouting, “Mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy” in ever increasing shrillness as the mother ignores them. Pretty much how a horse hears and sees our impatience. And like the mother corralled by the youngster, there is no escape for the horse so their first instinct is to ignore, their second instinct is to do something, anything, most often the wrong thing, like the mother rewarding the youngster with a cookie just to quiet them. Wrong. Isn’t that rewarding bad behavior? And encouraging more of the same? I think so.
When we offer a request to our horse we must be sure to be soft, respectful and patient. Like us each horse is different, has its own personality. Its own method of processing. Be sure to allow the time it takes for your horse to process. Don’t let impatience be your instructor, allow your horse that esteemed position, she will guide you with softness and grace.
The most wonderful thing about patience is the more you employ it, the more responsive, soft and willing your horse will become. Soon your horse will teach you that impatience can be a rare need indeed. Many things will change in your relationship. I promise.
Gitty Up, Dutch Henry
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