The 12 Commandments of Horsemanship

There's not enough room in that saddle for you & your temper.
Your anger makes it harder for your horse to please you, & blinds you to the lesson s/he is offering.

Listen to your horse.
If you're not getting the answer you think you want, try listening for the answer the horse is giving you.

Make every moment count.
Every time you're with your horse, s/he is changed in some way. It's up to you to ensure that change is a positive one.

Always part on a good note.
Whatever state you leave your horse in is where you'll pick up next time.

Look for an opportunity to learn.
Your horse is a better teacher than you are.

Trust & respect are earned, not owed.
Neither are automatic, for you or the horse.

Feed the body, nourish the mind.
A horse's body needs food, exercise & rest to remain athletic. The mind is fed by challenge, grows strong by learning & is rejuvenated by success.

Look at things from the horse's perspective.
Horse problems are really people problems. Never chastise a horse for behaving like a horse.

Ask in a way the horse can understand.
If you don’t get what you expected, you either asked the question wrong, or you asked the wrong question.

Think hard, act softly.
Responsiveness comes from feel, not from force. Think about your movements, & pay attention to the horse’s response.

Don't beat yourself up, & don't beat the horse up.
Instead of forcing a difficult issue, take a break & do something the horse does well. This builds confidence in the horse, & boosts his/her trust in you.

Acknowledge every effort.
A little praise at the right time goes a long way, but an ignored effort is never forgotten. Don't ask a trying horse to try harder.

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Comment by B. G. Hearns on October 20, 2013 at 4:42am

I'm posting this next to my stall.

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