I love technology when it is working well but find it very frustrating when it isn’t! I can do some of the basic stuff, but if the wrong button is pushed or a misdirected technical genius makes a website go down then I am not interested in fixing the problem and refer it to the Webmaster.
Some people are like that with horses. They become frustrated with them and are not interested in fixing the problem.
The only problem is that horses aren’t machines. They live and breathe and there is always a reason for doing what they do. If a resistance or an evasion is not corrected immediately, it can become a habit.
As much as I am not interested in fixing technology, I am absolutely passionate about fixing horse problems.
Last week one of my students bought a lovely horse as a project . . . friendly, quiet and obliging.
His problem was that when she rode him, he refused to go forward. Every time she asked him to go forward, he went backwards. The stronger she asked, the more he went backwards. His body language showed that he was expecting pain from being held too tight and from rough hands.
Although he was on a completely loose rein, he simply continued to go backwards every time he was encouraged forwards. Not fast or dangerous, just backwards with a lot of tension around his mouth and jaw area. This was a bad habit that had made this horse so unusable for his owners that he had to be sold. They would have been very frustrated with him.
We worked with him for a while and I gave her some exercises to do during the week. I saw him again today and what a difference! He wasn’t perfect and she still has some work to do, but he went happily forward in walk and trot (canter will be next lesson) and did not take one step backwards.
The interesting thing is that I don’t find working with horse problems frustrating AT ALL! I am always curious as to what made the horse behave that way and how I can fix the problem. The difference is my passion about working with these living breathing wonderful animals.
As I travel and move around a lot of horse environments, I am always curious about the people I see riding and training horses. Without talking to anyone, it is very obvious to see those who are becoming frustrated with their horse and to see those ones who share the same passion.
The next time you are in a horse environment, have a good look at the way people interact with their horses. When the horse resists or evades, which are the people who become frustrated with their horse and which ones are passionate about continuing to improve their horse?