“Why is it that you demand always to be on our backs, even if it is not appropriate? In your mind this is the pinnacle of your horsemanship, but isn’t that just the point – your horsemanship. You would be surprised how often we would prefer not to ride out with you. Why? Maybe we don’t feel right. Maybe you are not feeling right and this is affecting us. Maybe we have other things to share and develop with you. We come into your lives for many reasons, it’s not all about being on our backs.” – Lonesome.
Horses are crying out for a relationship with us. It is in their nature to want to work with us in harmony and peace. They crave to share peace with us. Over the years I have, time and again, gained so much wisdom and insight with my horses by working with them on the ground, be it with a line or at liberty, simply being with them or walking with them.
The other day I saw a man who was riding a nervous horse down a lane near to us. Our horses were in the field at the bottom of the lane waiting to say hello. The horse that this man was riding became scared and froze – couldn’t move. The man was having difficulty in moving his horse past my lot, so his companion suggested he get off and try and lead the horse. This man stated “I’m not getting off this horse!” He then proceeded to kick the life out of it (I don’t know whether the horse was male or female) until it jumped past my horses, and on they went.
This isn’t, unfortunately, an ‘extreme’ case of old school kick ‘em to go mentality and I ‘m sure this sort of behaviour happens to thousands of horses every day. What I find interesting and saddening is the hubris of the young man who couldn’t lose face by getting off his horse and helping his horse through a situation that it found difficult.
When we work from an inflated ego with horses, humility goes out of the window. We easily fall into dominance/punishment behaviour. It is often said that horses want us to be their leaders. Yes…but… and this is a big but….they want us to lead with the best part of ourselves, our Soul self not our Ego self. The Soul Self knows that through humility, is power, relationship and connection with the horse. The Ego self wants the horse to fulfil our needs and agendas, and believe me this can work on a very subtle level.
Sometimes it’s a good idea to make a clear intent to ‘get off your high horse’ and walk beside him/her for a while. This helps you to see things from the horse’s perspective, to learn to connect ‘eye to eye’ – on a Soul self level. Your horse will certainly thank you for it!