Healing horses and human hearts through bonding is therapeutic for both the horse and the human. Many people would love to have a true partnership with their horse-like they have with their family dog. Some people do, but it is rare.
As a horse trainer and breeder over many years, my interest has always been to help people achieve this kind of relationship. Once you understand the culture of horses this kind of bond is achievable.
To develop a true bond with a horse requires knowledge of their herd behavior and how horses form lasting bonds. Horses are not like other domesticated animals such as dogs and cats; horses are seemingly more difficult to manage until you understand how to approach them. When dogs or cats share a deep bond with a human, they prefer their human companion over another dog or cat. A horse, on the other hand, prefers to be with other horses.
A horse has two opposite instincts; one is to lead, the other is to follow. Luckily for us,...
An old-time cowboy feeds and grooms his own horse before he feeds himself. My dad said his horse will always have food but no guarantee that he would. He knows his horse as well as he knows himself. This is a cross-species bond. It is a bond that is reliable. It does not fade. It is a relationship that does not fluctuate when it comes to trust, respect, loyalty, love, dedication, and the need to stay together.
There is no drama that will damage a true bond. If any drama occurs, it is dealt with and forgotten when true love is shared and trusted. It comes in learning how to trust yourself and give life a chance to lead you to your objective. I can tell you that the old cowboy I mentioned above was doing just that. This type of cowboy is in all of us. In fact, this exists in nature in every living being.
This cowboy knew how to slow down and speed up; he knew when to pause and when to act, when to lead and when to follow. He knew this balanced relationship like the back...
It is fair to say that removing a horse’s fear of humans by using force may not be the answer as a way to save time in the taming of a wild horse. What is missing is trust. Without trust, the horse is left with a hidden suspicion that can erupt at any time, and a person or the horse, or both could wind up with a serious injury. I have been hearing these kinds of stories for years. When horses are frightened, they will hide their fears as they succumb to pressure. They may act tame but their trustworthiness leaves a lot to be desired. They are left traumatized even though they appear bonded with humans.
It is better to develop a connection with a horse in a free open environment so the horse does not feel trapped against its will. When a horse does not feel trapped by ropes, tack, and aggressive round penning they will be more secure in the process of developing a bond. A round pen can be used, but not if a horse is fearful and does not want to be in one. All of these are great...
“If You Want to Know What is Wrong With Your Horse, Go Look in the Mirror”
- Murrel Lacey
In every moment, everything in nature is mirroring and matching energy for survival and connection. Both harmonious connections and the need for survival depend on this dance. The herd matches and mirrors each other’s movements to stay together as a single unit for protection. This is also how horses form bonded partnerships in the wild.
Horses also know how to match and mirror the predators around them to stay safe. If a predator does not mind being seen, is relaxed, and not focused on any given thing, the prey animal is relaxed and does not mind being seen for they know they are safe.
Horses Mirror Humans’ Energy
If a person’s energy is accusatory or communicates with a horse when a horse feels threatened by them, or a horse does not respect or trust your leadership, it will bring out fearful, dominant, or even aggressive...
This exercise will help a horse listen to your direction. My focus is on dressage and pleasure horses, although it applies to any trained riding horse that may lose lightness. It is a two-minute exercise that is a simple maneuver that will return a horse to a soft willing connection with you when you ride. Through the practice of this exercise, your horse will respond to soft aids effortlessly, easily, and naturally. It will help you gain back the leadership that you may have lost.
I can use this maneuver to test to see if I have a willing horse. I also use it as a daily warm-up to keep my horses in a soft feel to my rein aids. Practice this maneuver four times on one side of the horse and four on the other side.
Asking for these simple maneuvers from the ground will help a horse respond more easily to directional rein aids, halt, gas pedal, collection aids, and leg yield from the saddle.
The maneuvers start by standing on the left side of a relaxed...
Grabbing Or Begging For Treats
When a foal is born the first lesson he learns from his mother is when to eat and when not to eat. Horses use food to develop relationships. They use it to establish friendships and pecking order rights. Bonding over sharing food and learning how to graze together leads to the unification of the herd. In actuality, horses see all interactions as social events, and these events take place around food. In the Resnick Method, we work with the horse’s natural instincts and communicate with him in his own language. Horses use food to establish themselves in the pecking order and we are doing the same thing.
It is acceptable to use treats at the beginning of horse training, but as you go along, the treats could become a handicap if you do not understand how to use them. Try not to use anything that will over-excite your horse. The manner in which your horse receives a treat is very important to avoid food dominance behavior and aggressive...
Last week I discussed how there are some ground activities that you may be doing with your horse that could create aggressive behavior in your horse. This week I am going to share with you about a fun game that can go wrong if you are not careful.
Aggressively Playing With A Ball
Playing with a ball is an excellent exercise for horses. Still, if a horse is allowed to play too aggressively with a ball, with ears pinned back trying to kill the ball, it can create hormone changes that can alter the horse’s behavior to be more aggressive toward you. Charging instincts can develop where you might wind up playing the role of the ball in your horse's eyes. You can stop this behavior. When your horse gets too aggressive, just take the ball away from him for the rest of the day.
The above blog header photo displays a horse happily playing with a ball. The photo below demonstrates a horse aggressively playing with a ball.
Undesirable behaviors can be turned...
Over the next few weeks, I will be discussing ground activities that you may not realize are creating aggressive behavior in your horse. These behaviors can create a loss of control from the saddle.
This week I am sharing how allowing your horse to move around when grooming can cause you to lose your leadership, connection, and control of your horse.
One of the places you may not think about losing connection with your horse is when you are grooming. While grooming, it may seem innocent enough when all you do is follow your horse around, but, there can be a hidden danger. It is important to keep a horse in one spot. If your horse causes you to follow him around to groom, he learns that he has moved your feet.
Horses in nature are constantly changing rank by moving each other’s feet. When a horse understands he has moved your feet he could lose respect for you. Allowing a horse to move your feet can lead to a horse crowding into you and not listening to your...
I have had horses all my life and started training for competition at the early age of ten in Indio, Ca. on my family's ranch. My approach was to bring a horse along in creative ways. Before I started a horse in training, I made them a family pet from the ground first, and then I creatively developed the horse for riding and showing. It was easy for me because of the bond I shared with my horses. By the time I was 14 years old, I had trained and showed three horses successfully — Mustang, who was a Mustang, in Western pleasure, Muretta Marjolaine, an American Saddlebred mare, in three gated park horse classes, and Rizeta, an Arabian mare, in English and western pleasure.
I would have never thought of teaching my training methods to others if it hadn’t been for my experience working for Augie Handley at Shadowland in La Jolla, CA. When he hired me, my job was to start off-the-track racehorses for junior riders and give hunter and jumper lessons in equitation....
We realize the sensitivity of horses; we also see that horses are resilient with a powerful spirit. We horse lovers have been drawn to horses for centuries. Horses possess a freedom that we humans search for. From our connection to horses, we strengthen our spirits.
Through the ages that horses and humans have shared the world, horses have overwhelmingly suffered because of humans’ self-serving nature.
A new consciousness is growing to give horses a better deal by taking a deep look into a horse's emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being. Rather than attempting to harness their soul in an afternoon, there is more interest in taking time to get to know a horse’s personality and developing a heart connection by keeping company with your horse to get to know him or her better.
Meditation in the Company of Your Horse at Liberty
I have felt that meditation in your horse's company brings a sense of well being to both the horse and human, which opens...