Balance, Trust, and Respect is the name I picked for my blog based on three of the most important elements to me in horsemanship. I’m currently at Brent Graef’s Young Horse Handling Class halter starting yearlings, and have been thinking a lot about these words. Since the topics are fresh in my mind, I thought I’d elaborate on what they mean to me.
-Balance on left side of body and right, and left and right eye balance
-Balance from poll to tail: hindquarters, front quarters, and ribcage.
-athletic development and lightness
-Variety in training – developing versatility.
-Blending/directing – good riding is a partnership, not a dictatorship. First you go with them, then they get with you.
-Balancing exposing a horse without making it dull, and keeping a horse sensitive without allowing it to be afraid.
-Balanced hoof care, dental work and body work to promote a healthy horse that can work at the peak of its ability.
-Developing rider balance and understanding its impact on the horse’s balance: constantly striving to be better
-Figure out what their thoughts are and blend with them
-Gain awareness of their needs
-Redirect, not discipline
-Build a connection
-Let them be right: set them up for success
-create an atmosphere for learning
-help eliminate fear through thoughtful preparation, not dulling and desensitizing
-don’t teach them to fight
-Respect is not gained through intimidation or mistreatment.
-Respect is earned once it is given
-Respect is mutual
-Respect comes from understanding your horse, and advocating for it
-Being a real leader means putting them first and leading through example, not making demands.
To me, just about everything in my day to day work expands on these three elements. If any of them are missing, the work is incomplete.