Saturday, November 08, 2008

I didn't write this

...the purpose of horsemanship is not to be nice to the horse. It is not to be gentle with the horse. It is not to be different from some older and traditional ways, whatever those are. Horsemanship has one purpose, and that is for the human to make herself CLEAR to the horse. For when the horse gets clarity, he also gains inner peace; and there is no other way for him to gain that peace when in human company. Thus, to be clear is the greatest gift we can give the horse, the true face of charity and compassion. Clarity is the thing we owe the horse for the privilege of handling him.

But I agree with it 100%.


  1. Who wrote this, Tom?

    This sounds to me like horsemanship's philosophy, rather more than like horsemanship itself.

    (*written by someone who is a total horsemanship illiterate, should speak/write better English and not even knows much about philosophy, just the remainders from school days. Not so long ago, btw :)*

    But it's nice to learn all these things from you. :)

  2. Tom, whoever wrote that is right on the money. Although I don't quite agree with the not being nice or gentle part, to some extent.

    The purpose of horsemanship IS clarity, but it is also consistency and compassion. For the horse to understand what you are asking of it, it needs you to repeat, over and over, what you are asking, in the same manner, until it picks up the meaning and gives you the appropriate response (which will come in little stages).

    But the horse also needs you to do this in a way that does not instill fear. A fearful horse cannot learn and will have no clarity. So whatever methods are used to train a horse need to also be compassionate, in that you allow the horse to absorb what you are asking, give it time to attempt a response (within reason, of course) before asking again and increasing the pressure a bit.

    I think true horsemanship comes down to the trainer's ability to read each horse individually, to assess the animal's responses and to know intuitively how much more you can ask without sending the horse over the edge. To be able to tailor each training session to that horse, that day. No such thing as a 'cookie cutter' method where every horse gets the same training, no matter what their responses and learning ability.

  3. Would you happen to have any tips on how to make not only ourselves, but also our intentions crystal f*cking clear to other humans?

    Without the aid of firearms, election promises, or being born into the Manor?

  4. Leni, this was written by quite an unpopular horsewoman, who I actually really like because she 'speaks her mind'. I think she gets a bit hormonal sometimes and really pisses people off - but hey, that happens with some gals.

    Ponygirl - I think she is not saying, 'don't be nice and gentle', she is more saying that that being gentle isn't something the horse necesarily values.

    Donn - There are total similarities between what horses need and what humans need. I have worked over and over with people (and myself) and seen that the qualities we need in our lives with humans are pretty much on the button, the qualities our horses need. Clear boundaries, security in the knowledge of where they stand in the relationship, clarity in our requests.
    What don't they need - it's the same. They don't need people talking in obscure code - they don't need people who fictionalise what horses are. It's all the same stuff.

  5. Hormonal? Hmm… You mean… like getting mood swings some days… of the month?

    (*asks herself if horsemen get a bit hormonal too*)

  6. I reckon horses are way easier to deal with than humans. They have no hidden agendas, and if you are clear with them they understand the deal and generally accept it quite happily.

    I guess humans aren't that good at being clear though. Social niceties mean we tend to beat around the bush a bit and maybe that is how it should be.

    I remember a person making a comment a while back, that if someone is useless with horses and probably always will be, how you should just go ahead and tell them that. That may work for Aussies, but somehow I don't think that sort of clarity is really very helpful when it comes to either horses or humans!

    There's being clear and positive which may be helpful or just being clear which may not be that helpful!

  7. Because horses are very large, strong animals, being nice or gentle is a bit different than it would be when dealing with, say, a dog. They can handle a lot physically. I have just found that some are not able to handle the 'roughness' mentally.

    Being able to read the horse and make adjustments in your methods to accommodate their psychological needs is the key to getting through to them.

    I do believe that you have to be compassionate though. They don't speak our language, and a lot of 'horse' people sure don't speak theirs! So giving them time to figure things out is imperative.

    Some can be pushed really hard and do well - whereas others would totally blow under that pressure. I've had both ends of the spectrum. I don't start them under saddle (I have a good friend who does that part), but I do tons of ground work before they get to that point.

    The horse I have now - the only one I have left after my divorce - is extremely well grounded, has a wonderful work ethic and tries really hard to figure out what I ask of him. I spent 2 1/2 years working with him before he was under saddle and it shows in all ways. He is friendly, respectful, curious and not flightly, despite being half Arabian and quite the silly character at times.

  8. Where's the buffalo?

    If there isn't a buffalo I'm not interested these days.

  9. When the student is ready, the Buffalo will appear.......

  10. I met a horse the other day and verified this belief. It was sooo clear to us both. (I am not kidding.)