The horse’s well-being comes before
In everything we do, if we say we put the horse first, we need to ask ourselves: does this experience add to his confidence and make him better, or does It lessen his confidence and risk his wellbeing, mental or physical? These are hard questions, and nobody is perfect. We sometimes don’t even realize we are compromising our horses, as it’s easy to get caught up in a task and what needs to be done.
Some people say, “sometimes It just needs to get done and sometimes a horse just has to do It.” These are the same folks who are surprised later on to have nothing to draw on when a horse gets scared, unconfident, or uninterested in what we’re doing. Each time we do something at the expense of the horse, we teach him to rely on himself and his instincts and less on us. Bill Dorrance said, “It’s really amazing what a horse will do for you if he understands what you want. It’s also really amazing what hell do if he doesn’t.” You reap what you sew, as the saying goes.