On Equal Ground

             By Elizabeth Graves 2005 ©

Bet by just the title of this article you may possibly think I am going to say horses and humans are equal in every way. Well maybe by most folk's definition they are not, but what I want to do here is share a different perspective on this and many ways in which we define things for our selves but may mean something different to our horses. We as humans sure have a lot more help to understand and learn to live and work with our equine partners, from others experiences before us our resources are vast. For the horse they do not have this advantage to help them learn about us prior to contact, it's an as it happens experience in learning for them.  In this article I'm going to try to bring you to an even deeper place than the natural horsemanship place we are all familiar with. Hopefully I can add to the benefits of your successes through a clearer understanding of how to find the true partnership so many of us are seeking. Many may think they already have it but there is so much more. The next level I like to term as being "Real Horsemanship."  It's a bigger place for human and horse where both count, both receive and both get there, finding that equal ground.
     I recommend first be honest in what you each are, don't humanize your horse and it will not horsalize you. By us finding some compromise in our human traits such as the need to be in control at all times, instead find compromise and let the horse when it can show you it can do what you desire if you set it up for success. Be open enough to find a middle ground when you need to for the horse. It does not always have to be in our way or in our set time as well as our possibly to ridged use of rules at times due to our own insecurities. We need to find this compromise in teaching a horse at times for getting the best performance within that individual's horse's mental and physical structure. Be reasonable is what you ask of a horse, by doing so in the very basics stages of teaching opens the door to the horse paying attention to us. Retain that very important element of curiosity which horses have, lose this and you start to lose the horse at a deeper level. Get into the mind and then you can start working on what you want the body of a horse to do for you. Build on that curiosity and you will keep your horses mind.
     Instead of thinking one has to dominate a horse, I like to work more from the thought of I am directing the horse. Set your horse up to do the right thing easily, don't make it harder. If one has to break lessons down into smaller pieces and build from there, do so and you will somewhere, sometime in teaching your horse. Doing this does not mean it is a dumb horse but maybe just one that has to ask why for a clear understanding for themselves before moving on, many of theses types of horses are actually more intelligent. Some horses also may be way ahead of you and ready to move on.  One should not always be taking from the horse, give something positive in return and a horse can like and in a horse's way even love what they do for you. A mentally happy horse is one with a purpose that is possible within it's abilities. I will finish this here with this final thought for us to consider.
     To be human is to be an animal, not a bad thing but a real thing never to deny. A horse knows it and cannot be fooled otherwise, no matter how hard one tries. To be an emotional, instinctual animal except it and know the benefit of it opens doors to everything that exists and will take you to that place of "Being real Horsemanship".

Back to Article Index