Horses come into our lives for a reason and we can learn something from each horse in our experience if we choose to listen. In Ray Hunt’s book, Cowboy Logic, he says, “The Horse Will Teach You If You Will Listen.” Most people don’t understand how to listen to the horse. Over the years, I have watched horse owners struggle with their horses and a wide range of problems such as pulling back, running out at fences, biting, kicking, bucking, displaying behaviors of dissatisfaction when being handled, pushy when leading, pulling on the bit, and spooking or refusing to go over obstacles, to name a few. These problems and more are created by the humans’ lack of knowledge and ability to handle or support a horse. They could have also purchased a horse with a previous owner’s lack of horsemanship skills. Repeatedly, I have witnessed nice horses being sold due to the human’s lack of knowledge and abilities to solve the problems or know how to not create them. Most problems are very solvable if a person is motivated to learn some new techniques, pay attention to the horse, and enhance her horsemanship skills.
No matter what discipline you ride - - English or Western, Jumping or Pleasure - - good horsemanship is good horsemanship and bad is bad. People need to learn to read their horses, unite with their horses, and support their horses when the horses are fearful, uncertain or misbehaving. Handlers need to be able to read their horses, know the difference between when a horse is afraid so they can support the horse, or know when the horse is misbehaving so they can quietly discipline the horse. When people are unable to work with the horse and take care of the problem, they feel the only solution is to sell the horse. In reality, if they would just open their minds, they would have no need to sell their horses because they would have learned how to unite with their horses and work in harmony.
My theory is to educate the rider and horse to a point where the rider is confident to move on and knows she will be successful no matter what her riding style or direction she chooses to go with her horse. I continue my education riding with quality professionals from different disciplines who are confident in their abilities and willing to pass on their knowledge and educate. In turn I take this knowledge and continue to educate my clients and teach them to be confident with their horses so their horses feel supported and comfortable. This awareness creates a willingness from the horse to perform for the human because they trust the human will not get them in trouble. Education, awareness, trust and confidence are what create a quality horse-human relationship. If a person has a quality relationship, has feel, good timing and is balanced both in the saddle and with his groundwork, he is educated and has tools to support himself and his horse. He will then have no need to sell his horse because he will be able to solve his problems.