Wouldn't it be a wonderful world if we asked the horse what they would like to do? Just imagine if they really had a choice in life, My first riding teacher was a lady named Pamela Goodwin and she was on the Irish showjumping team. It was her that said to me "imagine what you want the horse to do and they will do it for you". She also said "let the horse pick their job and they will always do well". I have never forgotten those words and have lived by them all my life, maybe it's the reason I took a Secretariat son to Prix St. Georges in dressage totally drug free, no hock injections etc., I believe it can be done because I did it!
Many people buy horses based on blood lines and performance of parents and siblings, but what if that doesn't matter? What if the horse themselved had a voice, some horses like to jump and others are terrified of fences. others like to race and some don't. Keeping a horse happy in it's job is a great way to reduce stress, ulcers and even lameness, as stress breaks the body apart, and causes all kinds of hormones like adrenaline and cortisol to be creating havoc internally. Horses try like crazy to please us and we sometimes take that for granted, we disregard the fact that they are not just a dumb beast here to do our bidding "make the horse do what you want". How many times have you heard that from a trainer? You won't hear it from me! When a horse refuses to do something I always ask why?? Not that behavior is always rooted in the physical, but how about the emotional? I have had successes with extremely difficult and dangerous horses because I was willing to listen to them and validate their emotions. After all, if your husband or partner does not listen to you, and makes you feel like your emotions don't matter, how does that make you feel? It erodes your self confidence and you get depressed. The horse is no different. There are thousands of horses out there who are emotionally shut down and they are seen as lazy, stubborn, have attitude or just plain stupid. Are they really?
So where do we start? If you are having to beat a horse to jump a fence there is something wrong. If the horse will not go into the arena, tail wrings and head tosses in dressage, there is something wrong. They may be in pain, they may not like that job, they may be bored and overwhelmed with too many demands, they may not trust the rider who forces them to go out of balance and the horse is afraid of falling, there are many reasons. A horse that is ridden in balance very rarely goes lame or has joint issues, as the body is functioning as a unit with all the moving parts working together in harmony. When the harmony is disrupted, lameness is the result. Why don't my horses go lame, have abcesses, need hock injections or suffer from metabolic disorders and tying up? Well they don't, so I must be doing something right, and yes I can teach you how to do the same. This is what my long distance healing and communcation sessions are about, and I will be running workshops about this in the fall. You can find the answers and the best person to ask is the horse! In the meantime, enjoy your riding!