My inspiration to share my findings about horse behaviour always comes from the horses themselves, as they are such good teachers, if we can only slow down enough to really listen to them......but this means changing our human views and approach......
If you haven't guessed already from my posts etc.... I'm not the shy type-lol and I have an extroverted personalty, which means that I'm naturally goal orientated, and have a desperate need for scientific understanding and answers, that of course I want right now-lol
This comes in very useful to drive and motivate me into researching lots of useful areas to help horses,......and for providing clinics, and public speaking at seminars etc....
However if I took this full-on personalty of mine to the horses themselves, I would be left standing alone, as they all would run away, because it would simply be too much energy for 99.9% of them....though the odd horse needs me to be full on, to match their high energy, as with extrovert types of horses out there.
So I have learned to adapt my personalty, and even my heart rate and breathing, to suit each horses needs, and the main thing abut this is to SLOW DOWN with everything that I do with them, including adapting my own personal goals which have changed from winning to having calm and happy horses :)
To put this into practice means that as much as I am innately pre programmed to put my busy life and own human needs first, that I cannot go straight to the horse and catch him, tack him up and go for a ride....as this is not how his brain works....and he will interpret this as being RUDE and DISRESPECTFUL to his needs if I behavedtowards him like that, which is the fastest way to wreck our relationship, as anyone who has being bucked off through doing this will hopefully now understand.
So the differences are when I go out to greet any horse is that I teach him in a relaxed and non threatening way to come to me, and that I slow down and wait for him to catch me.
I'm aware of being polite when I meet him, and letting him sniff my hand as well as by scratching him and spending a few minutes hanging out with him and rubbing him etc....before I put the halter on.....
I then play with him on the ground with some exercises that stimulate his mind and body(NOT LUNGING)as this is fun for him, and this allows me to re-connect with him again before our ride, or connect with a new horse for the first time to introduce myself and allow him to get to know me, and it also allows me to check that he is calm and in the right frame of mind and mood for being ridden.....including that he is not injured or sick etc....
A classic assessment I might do would be to check how my horses back up....as a quick snappy, and straight back up indicated that we are connected, and that he's wanting to interact with me, which gives a green light for being ridden, whereas a sluggish back up from my horse, gets my alarm bells ringing to a big red light for not being ridden right now....and I either have to slow down more, and wait for him to re-connect with me through more ground work, or resign myself that we,re not going to ride today.
THIS PRE RIDE INTERACTION HAS ALLOWED ME TO RIDE SOME OF THE MOST BEHAVIOURALLY CHALLENGING HORSES IN THE WORLD, AND HAS SAVED MY LIFE SEVERAL TIMES OVER.....IT MAY SAVE YOUR LIFE ONE DAY TOO......plus it will definitely increase your horses enthusiasm for wanting to be with you, as he knows you prove to him that you care about his needs through these actions and approach.
Hopefully this will help you to understand your horses needs better, from his point of view, as for you to become the human partner he dreams of having
Tracy from NATURAL HORSE NZ