It doesn’t happen often and each time doesn’t get any easier. This past week and a half I have been without a horse to work with. Both of my horses were on vacation because one was lame with a hoof bruise and the other is shoe-less with sensitive hooves. I can only watch so many horsemanship videos before my brain goes into mush and I need to put the information into practice.
What I was able to do is just hang with my horses, brushing, petting, and go on short walks when the weather cooperated. Hanging out with your horses is great and all but it will never measure up to the feeling and bond you get while working to bring your mind and bodies together as one. It’s a communication without words that builds the most honest of relationships. It’s true when they say,”some of my best friends never say a word to me”. I have been fortunate to have horses that have been great teachers. After a couple of bucks and bruises, they didn’t give me a choice but to learn to listen to what they needed.
I have you ever thought about the horses that don’t or haven’t told their owners when enough is enough? For instance, an owner who pulls on the horse’s mouth consistently without reason. They want the horse to gallop but because they cant stay in the seat they try to hold on by pulling the reins. The horse gallops anyways with a gaped mouth and high head having to push through the pressure. How bout the horses that never get a break from the their riders peddling them to go, or tie their heads down with martingales or tie downs. All those horses are giving all of what they got to their riders and not once did their riders give back to them.
What forgiving, patient, loyal creatures we get to climb aboard. We as humans are not perfect and I am first to admit I haven’t had the best of horsemanship all my life. I think the horse only ask of you is to TRY, try to learn who they are as a horse. Learn to communicate in a way he can understand and practice with consistency, discipline (within yourself), and patience. I know this because I lived it with my horse. We didn’t have a happy start and I had no clue what I was doing but I never have given up. I work on myself everyday to become a better horseman. How do I know I’m on the right path? His body language shows me if I’m wrong or right. He is no longer hard to catch, he is willing to try for me, he is smoother in the way he moves, he stays more focused, and his eyes have gentled.
The bond we have created from me trying to learn who he is as a horse has never been stronger. It will continue to strengthen because as long as I’m asking him to do what I want, I will be learning and trying to become the best leader possible for him and all other horses.
“The horse is so honest….they live in the moment. And what they do, whether they need to protect themselves or whether they need to accept you really is directly relative to how you make them feel.” – Buck Brannaman