One of the things I see missing most when people talk about the horse-human relationship, whether they specifically mention that term or are talking about anything concerning horses and humans, is an understanding of what relationship is really about. Most of the time, people focus on training a horse to do a certain task – stand still, move, trailer load, change lead, you name it – without recognizing that everything we do with a horse revolves around the relationship we have with our horse.
As I tell my clients and clinic participants, the relationship you have with your horse is similar to every other relationship you have. A horse is not a human, and a human is not a horse. But in our culture, we equate not being a human to being something less than ourselves, something that can’t possibly truly understand what relationship is and means. We are wrong in that assumption and the sooner we let that idea go, the sooner we can open ourselves up to a better relationship with our horses.
Take a look at horses in a herd. They are constantly engaged in relationship, such as grooming behaviors like the one in this photo of gentled Mustangs. If you look at wild Mustang herds, for example, you’ll find that horses live in familial relationships as well as friendship-based bands (bachelor stallions who don’t have their own family yet).
Relationship is something that is natural, and it is something that horses want. As humans, we need to acknowledge that and work harder at developing a real relationship with our horse. How do we do that? Well, that’s something I’ll be exploring more in my blog at The Horse-Human Relationship. Some of the concepts that I’ll be exploring include the concepts of balance, center and connection; our “conversation” with horses when we ride; mindfulness; understanding what boundaries really are all about and how to establish them; learning what “feel” is and how it relates to you and your horse; and much, much more.
For the horses,
Copyright Joanne (Jo) L. Belasco, Esq. May not be reproduced without express written permission. Visit www.thehorsehumanrelationship.com to read more entries by Jo.