Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Inner Horse

This post is going to make sense to approximately one reader. Sorry to my other one - my next post will be about love, relationships, and sex, so hang in there.

There are so many theories about training horses, and funnily enough, they are all right in some way, or they are all right for someone somewhere. But the real truth about horses is beyond a theory. There is something in the horse, which man can capture, and when he does, he can nurture it, and it can turn into the most powerful thing.

This thing is the inner horse.

Get the use of this and you will never need to mess again with all the tricks and methods that we can spend a lifetime buying/selling/learning. Sometimes I truly feel the power of the horse's spirit, and it's availability to me.

More and more as I go on working with horses I aim my work at connecting with the inner horse, rather than fixing the symptons of the disconnect. Actually with practise it becomes easier to spot the opportunities - here is an example. I was working with this horse that every time you went to put the bridle on, it threw it's head in the air. It was quite dangerous. So what could I have done. Well, I could have used advance and retreat, or I could have just hung in there with the bridle until the horse thought, 'oh, sod it, ok!', or I could have used clicker training (the most extreme example of working with the 'outer horse'), or I could have taken loads of time to build things up between me and the horse until he trusted me enough with the bridle. There are many other 'ways' I'm sure.

I was in a public situation so I was pretty exposed, what with instant internet reports and all, but I thought, well, what is the correct way to do this. It might not be pretty and it might not be to everyones taste but I did it anyway. I just let the horse know that I didn't approve of him throwing his head every time he objected to something I was doing. It was easy - as he threw his head, I just backed him up with some fairly intense energy. Three times he did it before he just stood there and let me put his bridle on - job done!

How is this the inner horse? Well, I didn't train him to do an external action - I changed his mind about me and what he thought he could do and not do around me.

It's not always that easy, but if I can see a way I take it.