“….But He’s Very Friendly!”

cartoonSo here’s an interesting thing.  Sometimes I get horses in training and the client swears up and down how gentle and friendly their horse is.  They handle him every day!  He is so smart and wonderful…

I am sure he is smart and wonderful.

But here’s the thing.

Sometimes….

us trainers…

wish…

they were a little less…

well…

handled.

It is so refreshing to me to get a horse that is a bit wild still.  A horse who’s responses are honest to their true horsey nature.  One that doesn’t know about crowding people, or taking lead ropes or reins away from hard hands or overly submissive and fearful hands.  Or a horse that is treated like a child or a dog.

Give me one that spooks at things, and snorts and has concerns and might appreciate quiet and cautious handling.

I’m not arguing against going out and handling your horses.

And I’m certainly not saying you shouldn’t make your horses gentle and that you should tip toe around them forever.

All I’m saying is…what’s so wrong about preserving a little bit of the wild in our horses?

Preserving his urge to move, to express himself, to have fears, thoughts, emotions, and not to just plug along on the trail without even tipping an ear toward anything, and to crowd right up and take treats out of your pocket?

Don’t we love horses for their grace and beauty as who and what they are? Isn’t their swiftness and flightiness what attracts us to them? And isn’t it just SO HUMAN to see something beautiful and want to take that and put it in a box with certainties and conditions and guarantees that it will NEVER SPOOK and will always let you come up to it and be touched anywhere by anyone in any way.

If we really love that nature, and maybe some of us if we think about it really don’t…but if we truly love the nature of a horse, we owe it to ourselves and to our horses to learn to appreciate that, and work with it.  Not to dull it down or turn it into anything other than what it is….

A Horse.

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