Saturday, April 21, 2012

A changing relationship with my horses

I’m re-thinking how I relate to my horses the last few months. It started, really, back when I first got Galahad and realized that the accepted training methods—even those labeled “natural horsemanship”—didn’t sit well with me. They’re still based on the dominance/submission paradigm—“Me human, you horse: You obey or I will hurt you” kind of thinking.

It’s a moving target. I don’t have a problem with riding my horses, within reason; I do have a problem with bits and spurs. I don’t have a problem with them having opinions that get listened to, and I want them to have fun when we’re together; I do have a problem with them being pushy and disrespectful. On and on. Nothing is yet clear. They weigh nine or ten times as much as I do, and I need to be safe, too.

And because I’m working on this, it seems like I’m having more fun. I love the way my horses enjoy being with me. I love the way they come to me when I call them, sometimes at a trot.

Well, they come to me most of the time, at least.

[Note on the photo: Sharp eyes will see that the horse on the right is not Nevada, but one of Galahad's gelding buddies. Close enough in looks, though, and he didn't mind being in the shot.]

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