Good Day Friends, Mary Ann here,
The theme that keeps coming up in my lessons lately is:
When horses have devices attached to their heads and people are on the ground, people pull horses. Even if it is a halter and leadrope and they are sending their horses away, they pull them forward with the equipment. Horses don’t do this to one another!
If we are going to be more horse-like, we need to push and then follow. In this first photo, it all looks innocent enough,
Sometimes, in the teaching phases between horses, things can get quite big! Even this 3 year old colt is well aware of what is happening. He did not get kicked, he moved. That huge communications was needed in this case because softer communications were not enough for this intact colt. It’s really not until picture #3 above that he really believed the seriousness of The Sage’s intent. In #2, can you see the colt’s feet are still on the ground? It’s not until #3 that he is actually moving away because the wise gelding is ready to deliver whatever is needed. And in the moment the colt backed off, the wise one went right back to grazing.
So, when we are in dialog with our horses and we want them to move forward, how about we get behind the driveline and invite them forward from behind.
When you speak to your horse in this way, they will pay more attention to you and become calmer and braver because this communication is more horse like.
Even though this person is in front of the horse, she is still pushing from behind. See her right hand trailing? It is energetically claiming the space behind the horse. And, the space in front is open and available, a happy place to jump into. In a very short time, with consistency, this way of communication doesn’t need equipment at all.
Also, when you communicate with your horse, through pushing, rather than pulling, your horse can directly relate this to riding. In the same trail of thinking, we want to push from behind, mentally and physically (in the teaching phase,) moving to energetically from back to front leaving a soft available, happy place in front for our horses to move into.
A word of caution that the young colt learned in the photos above – Be honest, be fair, be “IN” communication with your horse and don’t bug them, just tell them what you want, trust that they’ll respond and give them a happy place to move into!
If you do not feel safe, like the person with the white horse above (#7), moving side by side and not looking at your horse, At first, look at your horse’s body part like the girl with the bay horse (#6), looking at that right hind foot. And be aware of your horse’s whole body. At first you may want a longer rope so you can be farther away if your horse is not use to you touching it’s legs with a rope. Soon enough, when he realizes you are not going to hurt him, he’ll be fine with it all.
Working close on the ground with an athletic being is thrilling! Preparatory cues are important in the teaching phases to establish rhythm and trust. Soon enough we will progress to liberty and lightness in complete communication with no equipment at all.
Soon, you’ll be orchestrating from the shadows and no one but you and your horse will know.
As quiet as a whisper and a want to!
All the best,