Thursday, October 1, 2015

The Horsemanship Connection and Communication Equation, Part One

by Mary Gallagher

In my experience, you can teach a horse anything if you can understand that his motivation is to stay safe and that his goal is comfort. In this series of articles, I’d like to explore this idea a bit, using a sort of short hand, or equations to express various facets of the human-horse working relationship.

Herd = Safety and (but not always) Comfort

One of the first things we learn in horsemanship is that the horse is a prey animal whose herd is its key source of safety. Let us also understand that horses are super sensitive and perceptive creatures; there are no shortcuts on the journey to trust and communication. As we begin to observe herds, we see a range of behaviors, beyond peaceful grazing, that demonstrate the herd as a safe, but not always comfortable place to be.