Working with horse-to-horse bonds

Years ago, when I got my mare Zuzka, the trainer I was working with at the time was so happy when we were able to put her in the same corral space with my gelding Khami. The trainer said it helped her training because the mare would be moved around all day by him.

Zuzka and Khami
Khami and Zuzka

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Cowgirl or cowboy up!

Recently I have heard this expression “cowgirl up!” told to horse owners who are not coming forward in their leadership with their horses. Among some trainers and clinicians, it is meant to be helpful, but for many women and some gentle men, it only serves to make them feel insecure about their leadership around their horses. It usually involves being chastised for not “making” your horse do something he is supposed to (in human terms). I know when this was first posed to me it made all my insecurities surrounding being credible come rearing up and made me into a quivering mass of jelly. Women in particular can have difficulty speaking up and that ability in a relationship with a horse is necessary, even though speaking up is going to take a different form.

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