A HORSE KNOWS:

if your intentions are honorable!

Approach a horse in a state of anger and watch him get away as soon as he can. Approach the same horse with admiration and a calm demeanor and see him ask for attention.

We have physical “body language” we use – we can be taught ways in which to influence horses as if we ourselves are horses, mimicking equine behavior and signalling (I wonder what they truly think about it). And we have, just by innate nature, the effect of communication by human posture and attitude. Horses are wise. They figure us out!

I personally believe in talking to horses. I tell them where I am when I’m mucking or approaching them because I do not wish to surprise them (horses don’t like surprises).

I believe in explaining things verbally and having a set of consistent words and phrases that connect me with my horses. Many a student says, “come on” to a horse when they mean “walk”, “trot”, “turn”, “move over”, “back up”, etc. Horses are smart – use the words for what you mean – “Come on” isn’t very clear to humans either!

And the horses that I teach on listen carefully to the instructions I give to a rider – sometimes my horses misinterpret things when I’ve been simply discussing the mechanics of the canter and will do a lovely depart just from a shifted sitting bone.

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