By: Dr. Mike Guerini (www.dunmovinranch.com)
1) Build a relationship based on being positive and developing respect — and that relationship will last a lifetime. With horses we are all reminded to reward the try. Reward the progress. Reward when it all clicks and the action is correct. We also learn with horses that if we ask them to respect our space and set boundaries and that we respect what they can do without those boundaries, we can have a mutual agreement of how to behave around each other.
My horses remind me daily to be around people who are positive, associated with people who look for the good in a situation, learn from people who seek good in others.
2) Speak clearly and you will be heard. It is never ever the horse’s fault. When we ask for a transition and it does not happen it is because the rider failed to communicate and coach the horse with the correct aides and pre-signals. When we coach using the same aides, apply them they same way each day, and we are clear with our instructions the horse hears/feels and responds.
My horses remind me daily that the language people use is deteriorating. Abbreviations, made up words in texting, curse and foul words (some four lettered (and there are quite a few here) or other words used to describe people or situations including the words stupid, idiot, etc., or referring to people as body parts), and poor punctuation are dooming us to become a society who misunderstands each other and is continually hurt because of a lack of clear communication. My horses remind me to speak clearly and I will be heard.
3) Basics are the key to happiness. Horses teach us that we need shelter, food, water, some herd friends, and basic care. I have never seen a horse in line at the store trying to purchase the latest iPhone. Horses do not post pictures of their wins on Facebook, the are not on Twitter, and most find the Instagram system hard to use for self-promotion. Horses do not need the latest halter…in fact they seem to walk along nicely in a very pretty halter with jewels and silver and they walk along just as nicely with a piece of bailing twine fashioned into a halter.
My horses remind me each day that if I have the basics in life I can live and love, be loved and appreciated, and when I speak clearly, and look for the positive in life — I might just make it through many of the lessons in life, help someone along the way, and receive a pat on the back for a job well done.
So next time you feel yourself getting caught up in the world, overwhelmed by all the demands, worried about being trendy, lacking friends, and mis-understood — take a few minutes and check in with your horse. 15 minutes might with your horse might make the difference in your day and I am certain it will make the difference in your horse’s day.
Dr. Mike Guerini is a clinician, author of multiple Horsemanship books, co-inventor of the Equine Hydro-T and specializes in western performance based instruction and you can learn more about Dr. Mike and his 6 C’s of Horsemanship at http://www.dunmovinranch.com. Dun Movin Ranch is also home to the Equine Hydro-T (www.hydrot.com).