When I work with a horse I am always mentally preparing myself ahead of time. Before I ever catch a horse, I am already creating a rough draft plan in my head of how I’m going to communicate openly with a horse. Before I enter the corral I have everything set up ahead of time to where there will be no complications or issues caused while tying up, grooming, feeding, and saddling my horse. When I enter the corral I have my halter prepped before hand to help support the horse if needed and make a smooth process of haltering, the whole time studying the horses and horse I’m about to catch. This allows me to break down where I think the horse is at, helping form the rough draft of my interaction to come. But with all horsemanship, it’s nearly a rough draft based on where the horse is at.
Based on where the horse is at, the plan is continually changing with him. With that being said, one of the most important lessons a horse has to teach humans is the control of ones emotions. For when you have definitive expectations for where you want the horse, you have only set yourself up to fail. You have changed the agenda from what the horse needs to where you expect the horse to be based on your needs. When this occurs one will lose control of their emotions because the horse is not properly prepared for their expectations or their expectations were met, but the horse was ready to progress further. This ultimately changing the situation from feel to force. I hope one day I truly have complete control over my emotions, but that’s not even close so I try to work on it every day through awareness. Always being aware of my mental state, trying to hone in on how to best help the horse succeed.
Feel vs. Force; Feel meaning you are in a constant state of thought to help the horse succeed at the progression of the transformation of a green horse to a more refined horse. Force simply meaning you have an idea of where you want the horse to be at, no matter the education level of the horse, and you will force the horse into doing what you want through fear and anger. This creates a braced up, visually deceiving picture of a correctly balanced horse (if you succeed at what you think is correct) to the untrained eye or a horse that reacts strictly out of fear rather then choice and desire. Force creates horses that have no life to them any more. You may look into the horses eye and see no more twinkle for they have lost that special piece inside of them, never to be seen again. Feel creates a horse that believes in the human and desires to “work” with us. You can see these horses from a mile away because they just have a different energy to them that attracts people. To me it’s similar to seeing someone who is miserable and hates their life, learning to except their situation, compared to a person who loves their life and is always smiling.
They still have the inner horse left in them, for they have always succeeded with the human. The human has worked with the horse, as the horse has worked with the human, through the stages making it through seemingly troublesome spots over and over again with support combined with success. Learning that they don’t have to be on guard as a species while they are with the human, for they have taken all the troubles away while the horse has given the human a sense of purity. Purity through awareness. For what horses have to offer us is so much more then anything the horse receives in return from the human.