Theses trainers not only want to produce
good, well trained horses and educated owners, but also truly
'care' about each horse 'as an individual', no matter what
breed, size, color, age the horse happens to be and with no bias
as to which training discipline the horse happens be have been
By working with and treating each horse truly
as an individual - listening to and learning the horse's point
of view / current understanding (or misunderstanding) of the
(our) world in which we have forced it to live in, there is a
much better chance of being more effective in generating a true
'two way' communication with the horse and lasting relationship.
When a horse truly believes that we are truly
listening to its replies / comments (its tries, efforts, etc.),
the horse will gain much more self confidence and believe that
his best interest is being looked after and will not feel so
much that he must look out for himself (acting alone) with no
help from the trainer and/or rider. This aspect of
communication is not all that different from humans when
involved in conversations where one is talking over the other
and not really hearing the other's point of view.
Confusion is generally the result in such conversations and that
is often the same result between horse and human. Horses,
not being used to humans truly listening for most of their
lives, will check or test this premise from time to time and we
must be patient with them as they reaffirm this.
By working with each horse as an individual
whilst attentively listening and paying attention to replies
(even when ever so slightly given) – the speed of the training
process is often sacrificed (sometimes to the chagrin of the
owner) in exchange for the quality of the result. But to
the trainer (myself included), this should not matter, as a good
horse with a sound mind, is much more important than having a
mechanical horse with no calm / sound mind. By mechanical
horse, I mean one that is doing things because, during his
training, he has been forced to do them. The horse doesn't
end up working because he wants to; he does everything because
he has to. There is no feeling in what he does – just a
This 'mechanical motion' is generally the
result of the old 'speedy' training methods of “Do it now and
this way or else!” as well as from the over-use of
mechanical / equipment based methods for control - such as
incorrectly using martingales, draw reins, double bits, etc. and
the list goes on.
Trainers should tailor training methods to
fit the personality (or horseanality) of each individual horse.
By doing things in such a way, the mechanical
feeling you sometimes get from a horse can generally be avoided.
In its place, a more natural flow and genuine willingness will
come from the horse. Put more succinctly, it is like
forming a partnership between horse and rider.
www.blackburnnaturalhorsetraining.com Telephone: 01799-543711
Articles by Lewis from Essex Rider Magazine