“Rubbing his eyes on soft cotton (shirts) feels good; he would do this to another horse…” Rick Gore, Horse Trainer, Think Like a Horse
“This is your space, this is my space; see if you can enforce that…” Warwick Schiller, Horse Trainer, Warwick Schiller Horsemanship
It’s very popular to get some on-demand training these days from the YouTube Institute, I mean website. I learned how to crochet a nice edging to a baby blanket and my husband learned how to install hardwood floors in our dining room. I also get lots of horse instruction from YouTube, and above are quotes from two of my favorite teachers.
Who do you listen to when both instructors are experienced, qualified, well-informed with amazing results, yet they disagree?
When Rick Gore takes a rider’s question, his first answer is often “That depends.” Then he will give a couple of scenarios of why sometimes this is the answer and sometimes that is the answer. Because you are different and your horse is different, very few situations at the stables are “typical.” There are always variations.
Personally I always loved that Sportie, the horse I lease, got relief from his itchy eyes by feeling comfortable enough with me to rub his face on my back. To me it was a sign of affection, like when my cat Garfield gives me a leg rub. So I was shocked last weekend when Sportie’s owner, whom I don’t see around a lot, said “Don’t let him do that. Someone else is gonna smack him for it if he does it to them.”
As soon as she said it I knew she was right. I hadn’t previously considered the fact that I’m not the only human interacting with Sportie, and some of the stablehands might interpret Sportie’s actions as disrespectful or even dangerous. I wanted to argue that I liked it but what did that matter? I decided to listen to her, because I didn’t want Sportie getting smacked by someone else for something I had taught him was okay to do.
It’s going to take a lot of retraining myself to push his head away and rubs his face with my hands instead of letting him use my back as a scratching post, but since I’m not his sole person of contact I want his behavior to be universally acceptable. I miss my horsie back rubs but thankfully I can still get leg rubs from Garf.
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