You might laugh and say, “oh, how can that be? What’s wrong with loving your horse too much?”
It actually isn’t the loving, it’s the tipping over to please the horse that is the problem. One you tip, you lose your center. You’re no longer able to hold your leadership and your horse may take advantage of that and stop listening to you.
Some horses are kinder than others and listen to you anyway, so you might not be so quick to notice. It’s one of the things that the Liberty Foundations I teach highlights so beautifully – you will know if your leadership and connection are not right by the way your horse is responding.
The tipping causes you to not notice when your horse is too close, and not correct him, for example. It may cause you to run after your horse after you’ve lost your magnetic connection. It may cause you to be needy. It is sort of like you are on a date and you like your date far more than he likes you. With liberty training, you have the added component of looking out for your own safety. If you are doing the Liberty Foundations and your horse still has behavioral problems, then we need to look at what you are doing. Some horses take longer, granted, so you can’t put a time frame on how long it will take for your horse to “get it.” But the handler is a huge part of the equation. Some times the horse is just too much for his owner, too. To learn the Foundations, pick a horse that’s easy to work with as your first subject. As your confidence grows, you can work with more difficult horses.
Your horse feels more than you give him credit for. If you don’t like someone, chances are your horse may not be very friendly to that person, also, or just ignore them. Your horse will notice if you protect her in a situation, protect her from mistreatment, unfairness — that goes a long way in the horse world. They understand that within the herd as well. It puts you up there as a leader among leaders.
If you feel you are in danger of tipping over, just like when you were in high school and fell hard for some guy, think about it. Meditate. Get clear on the concept. Yes, horses are lovable, and that one special horse in your life can make such a difference. But don’t give it all away. In a herd, a horse like you would be run off, you’re too moony-eyed. Horses pick up on this and on any incongruency, that is, people who are not thinking clearly. Horses that aren’t thinking clearly will not survive easily in the horse world.
Often I suggest that people not look at their horse too closely when they’re working with him. Get a global perspective. Meditate or simply breathe before you go in the arena to work. Keep a good distance emotionally and ground yourself. We have exercises to ground you so that you don’t fall too deeply in love. If you are that deeply in love then keep it out of the workspace with your horse. And start to build the centered strength in you and ground yourself so that you can work effectively with your horse. This all requires a shift in energy.
It’s not all about having your horse like you. It’s about mutual respect. The horse must respect your boundaries and you his. That’s why we enter the relationship as though we are entering a herd for the first time. We don’t just charge in and put a halter on. After we have a relationship, putting a halter on is no big deal. We move into taking space from the horse, still with mutual respect. This has to prevail. If you have a very strong-willed horse, this may take longer.
If we are operating from our center and from mindfulness, we will have more success with our horses. We will be able to make on-the-fly decisions as to what to do next, where to go next, in the training. This ability will grow with the work, and even though it is subtle and can appear like you’re doing nothing, it is extremely powerful and can make huge changes in your horse work.
We will work on some of this at my upcoming clinic. The work on the energy will take some practice and is a mindful practice much like meditation is. That is why we start very simply. If you want additional instruction or practice with this, that is available in private lessons.
In the meantime, Happy Valentine’s Day!
Private sessions and gift certificates are available by calling 505.501.2478 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org