How many times have you found yourselves in a conversation with a horse enthusiast and failed to grasp what they’d just said? They would utter something like “Green on green equals black and blue”, and you’d be left to guess the meaning of it through the rest of the conversation.
Before you shrug these sayings off, you need to understand their importance in horse training; they represent the accumulated wisdom and knowledge on how to train your horse properly. As such, they’re very worth knowing, and not only to help you navigate your way through conversations, but also to understand your horse better. Let’s break some of these sayings down and see what meanings lie within.
Let's start with an easy one, “The slow way is the fast way with horses.” Despite sounding paradoxical to an unskilled ear, there is hardly a saying that rings truer than this one. It means that going easy with the horses is the only way to successfully train them. Rush it, and it’ll only make things worse.
You must have heard this one at least once, “Trust your horse and your horse will trust you.” The saying tries to establish a common ground in horse-horseman relation, the common ground being trust. The saying also emphasizes the reciprocity of action. Just as you, expect the trust from your horse, you mustn’t abuse or misuse it. They can tell if you’re trying to fool them into obedience. Don’t do it. Treat your animal with respect, and they’ll return the favor multiple times over.
The old folks would say, “The horse is never wrong!” What they mean by it is that you should be prepared to admit your mistakes. A horse only reacts to the stimuli coming from its surroundings, meaning mostly from you, and if you don’t like what you see in your animal’s behavior, it’s most likely your fault. This is very important as the only way to remedy the way you treat your horse is if you admit your mistakes. Just don’t blame it on the horse is what they’re saying.
“Your horse will tell you when you do it right.” In its essence, a horse is a reactionary animal, meaning that whatever you do will ultimately be reflected in their behavior. That’s why it’s essential that you listen to your horse, follow its behavior pattern, and adjust yourself to it. That’s the only way to train them.
Prepare for a tough one. “Think like a horse.” Now, I know what you’re thinking but the only way to really understand your horse’s needs and desires is to try and think like them.
Even tougher, “Green on green equals black and blue.” And you thought I’d leave you in the dark for this one! Get past all the color imagery, and this saying speaks the truth like no other. It means that when a young, inexperienced rider gets hold of a young, untrained horse, black and blue bruises are a relentless certainty. Just don’t say you haven’t been warned.
I hope that by now you’ve noticed the common thread weaving all the sayings together. The thread is called understanding, and whatever you may have heard elsewhere, no horse has ever been successfully trained without it.
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