The last 30 years has brought great progress and transformation to the world of Horse/Human understanding, training and relationships. A transformation long overdue. Much to the dismay of my parents, I was born loving Horses. Although family members had horses, and I rode a handful of times as a child, I was not able to have a Horse until I was an adult and could make my own decisions. The term and behavior at the time was that you ‘broke’ a Horse. And many horses were indeed broken from this ill-informed and often barbaric practice.
Then we made progress and training methods made an attempt to replicate the behavior of a herd, with the Human being the lead Horse. With my first Horse, this was my approach. However, I don’t think she read the update, nor did she care. She did understand and agree on how to respect my space on the ground, but while riding… it was interesting… my experience was that she had plans and reactions and that herd leadership did not always carry over from the saddle. She was trained, but her instinct was stronger than my legs or hands, she willingly cooperated until she felt threatened, felt exhilarated, or had a burst of adrenaline. Then she was a Horse completely and my ‘leadership’ was a vague memory.
My experience is that a Horse will always be a Horse. But they are no longer ‘wild’. They are partially domesticated, partially wild, and as Humans learning to relate to them in a interdependent partnership, we are in the genesis of creating a co-intelligence that will expand our understanding while managing their instincts. Sometimes I have great benefit from this theory, sometimes I fail miserably. Yet I know, that for me, this is where my passage with the Horse is going.
So, I have embraced the idea of Tribe for my Horses and myself. We have both chosen to be together, we speak a different language, but we are committed to finding common ground so that our co-existence will find a common language. We strive to have a collective identity, one that will represent both parties equally, one that will benefit each in their evolution to know and understand the other, one that will bring out the best of our indigenous natures. In this commitment to bridging our differences and building on our strengths we solidify our commonalities, we honor our differences and we view our mutual desire as the leader in this Tribe. This leadership is intangible, but it is constant, and it is honorable, we have both agreed to its philosophy.
I no longer see us as a Herd, or as a series of steps to explain my position of authority to the Horse, we are a Tribe that seeks to live in equilibrium and progression in our journey to becoming both connected and expanded.
Reflect on your position/relationship/leadership/with your Horse. Ask questions as to why you train/communicate as you do, is it because you were taught this idea/method? Is it authentic within you? Is it your language or have you adopted a language of your environment? Observe your Horse(s) as you interact with them, notice if they respond to ways that you have interacted with them based on prior learning, and then notice when you let go of educated opinion and relate to them from heart centered instinct. Do they respond better to a specific one, or to a combination?