Some horses seem to have a strong belief system. They have strong beliefs about people, places and things.
Here’s an example:
I have a client whose horse gets noticeably upset when his farrier comes. I know this farrier personally and have seen him work on many horses at many barns. He is kind, clean, healthy, friendly, interested, and horse savvy. He’s not a horse trainer, so he doesn’t “move horses around” or ‘make them’ stand still. Through kindness and persistence, he helps horses get their feet trimmed in their field, in the barn aisle, outside or in the indoor arena, wherever they are.
This farrier has been trimming this horse’s feet since he was six months old and he’s now 9 years old. His person is with him at every trimming. When I started this horse under saddle at 5, I saw the change when the farrier pulled in my driveway. This horse did not see the farriers car, but he changed and when I investigated, I walked around the barn to see a car pulling in the long driveway.
Being someone who believes horses, I was sure this farrier had done something to this horse that this horse remembers. But I haven’t been able to square this in my mind or in my experience. I’ve asked this farrier if he knows why this horse is so worried about him, he shared with me how good he is now and how much he worried about him in the past. He thinks some farrier before him may have caused the worry, other than that, he had no ideas.
No amount of ‘training’ has convinced this horse that this is ok. What has convinced him is this farrier’s commitment to be calm, to be nice, to help this horse.
The farrier’s belief system is very strong as well! This farrier believes in fairness, in kindness, in helping, in persistence and in this horse’s ability to believe that he will not hurt him. He never has. He has never gone opposed to this horse, he has never hit him, tied up a leg or tied up the horse, he has never yelled at him or pulled on the lead rope in a harsh way.
The farrier has one goal, trim feet, and while this horse has some strong belief about this farrier, this farrier’s strong beliefs are stronger. Evidenced by the fact that every 4 weeks, this horse gets his feet trimmed!
Every four weeks, the farrier’s influence over the strong beliefs of this horse results in moving their relationship forward.
So that’s what I want to talk with you about now. Influence.
Relationship-Based Horsemanship calls for us to use our strong beliefs to influence our horses. The only way this is different than any other brand of horsemanship is that we are committed to the relationship like in the story about the horse and the farrier.
The thinking to influence here is, I’m going to trim your feet and you’re going to be alright. With complete clarity that it will go no other way. The nuance here is that WE will accomplish this TOGETHER. I will help you with what you need and you’ll help me with what I need.
I won’t go opposed to you and what you need and I trust you’ll come along and work with me. This type of influence can go a long way with a prey animal who relies on social intelligence (or collective knowing) for survival.
As always, you need to #BetheChange. This isn’t something you’re doing but someone you’re being. Just like in the story of the farrier. He has seen this horse roughly 384 times over the course of 8.5 years. If you see your horse every day, it would take you roughly 1 year to for you to eliminate a behavioral problem. If, you get the right help to get really clear on what’s important to you, who you’re being about it and being able to see exactly what to do next.
If you think about it, are you still dealing with a problem that started more than a year ago? Time with horses goes quickly, before you know it you’ve had your horse for 9 years!
In the story, the farrier has ONE goal – trim the horse’s feet. What is your problem and clear goal?
There is so much more available when we really interact with our horses inside of #RelationshipBasedHorsemanship. If you want to learn how you can implement your influence and change everything, Book aCall today and we’ll explore if it’s right that we work together to create the changes we want to see in the horse world!
“Changing Lives, One Relationship at a Time”
This is the horse in this story with his person!