The balance of what we want from our horse and what they want from their lives to make both parties happy; is I believe one of the most challenging aspects of horse care.
In small issues such as I love jumping but my horse is not always in the mood, this can just lead to the odd 'disagreement' but in extreme cases where someone thinks their horse is 'taking the micky' or 'trying to test me' when actually they are genuinely scared or just completely have no idea what on earth you want; then continued lack of understanding or respect of what our horses are trying to tell us can lead to some serious behaviour issues.
When you consider that horses are incredibly physical creatures who could if they wanted to not play along with our many wishes, then you have to for the most part assume, that they want to be willing and desire a realtionship with us.
They could seriously harm us in the blink of an eye and I have not met a horse yet who has not been soured through human contact and was just born plain old evil.
So if we consider that for the most part horses choose to be in our company and tolerate us dressing them up and parading them round or asking them to do things that I sure most of them would pass up; we should really be quite grateful to them. We should also consider when they are acting up that maybe there is something that we are not quite getting. Are they doing what they are doing simply to annoy us and make our day worse; or have we missed the more subtle signs of their communication so now they are physically having to try and get the message across.
It is important to remember that they really don't care if they get a rosette or how many points they get in the dressage test. Their motivation is enjoyment and ideally great connection time with us, their human partners. If we make that connection all about our goals and less about their needs, then you will soon have a horse that doesn't want to try for you and who if you get into trouble will simply not have your back. If we change our perspective to ' how enjoyable do I make my horses life' and 'what can I do that we both love and will help us to enjoy our time together' rather than what I somtimes hear which is more about how they should be grateful because of the money spent on them or the time spend looking after them. Horse unfortunately don't care about money and they certainly don't understand the many sacrefices that we might make to have them in their lives.
They do understand however how we are with them and what we choose to do when we are around them. They know when we are happy and they know when we are not happy. They also know when we are trying to understand them and when we are simply on our own agenda.
I know I would much rather spend my time with a horse that honestly loves being with me and I know will take care of me as much as I do them than with a horse that has become withdrawn or there is no connection with because I have constantly put me first. Sometimes this means that I have to let go of some of my goals or adapt them to suit both of us; or relax on some of the timescales because my horse does not care that I have a meeting to go to and only have a set amount of time to do what I set out to do with them that day.
In the process of listening to what my horse wants I become more grounded and I strongly believe have better priorities now in many other areas because of changing my perspective.
I think that if we all let our horses lead us as much as we try and lead them; we might learn much more then we could ever imagine.
Disclaimer: Of Horse! and sponsors do not endorse nor validate the accuracy of a blog post. Each article is the opinion of the blogger.