The opinions expressed in previous entries may or may not express the current opinion of the author.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Note to Anyone Tuning in for the First Time

In the unlikely event that an innocent passer-by has strayed into this blog, this is for them.

We're doing something weird here.  It is not Natural Horsemanship, or any kind of training.  We do not expect horses to perform, or compete or provide a service.

The three main tenets of this way of being with the horse are:

1)  If the horse says, "No," you say, "OK." For example, you think what fun it will be to go for a nice trail ride on such a lovely day.  You go the pasture with the halter and put it on your horse.  Your horse declines to move.  You can wheedle and whine and beg for a short while if you must.  But if your horse continues to say no, you take off the halter and either go away or do something mutually agreeable together out in the pasture. (Ahem, but this doesn't work the other way - if you're out, and the horse doesn't want to go home, you may insist. Inconsistent?  Not really.) This applies to the whole process - if your horse comes out with you but then declines to have the saddle put on, then ... uh uh, no saddle today.

2)  You don't punish your horse.  If the horse refuses to cooperate, you just have to keep finding another way to ask.  And you don't get to use "pressure/release" either. You don't have to let yourself actually be trodden on and bitten and kicked, but if your horse produces any of these undesirable behaviors, you confine your reaction to an immediate and passionate expression of grief, pain, and alarm.  You may shoo your horse away, however.

3)  Most importantly - you expect that the horse has a lot to say and you try to learn how to hear it.

Here are some frequently asked questions:

What's the point in all this?

You may well ask.  I don't know what the point is. But I'm beginning to see a glimpse of what the reward is.

Well, what can you do with your horse?

I don't know, but I'm sure spending a lot more time doing it than I used to spend doing the conventionally recognizable things I used to do. Alexander Nevzorov spends time with his horses teaching them Latin - that's something you could aspire to.

But if I let my horse have his say, won't I find out that he really just wants to get rid of me and go off and munch clover with his buddies?

Amazingly - no!

Can you ever ride?

Omg i hope so.

Earlier there was a mention of "insisting" - if you can't pressure and release or punish, how on earth do you insist?

Go figure.

What made you get started on this crazy stuff anyway?


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