Make A Change

You’ll never get your horse right until you get yourself right, writes Monty Roberts as he recounts a turning point in his life. Before: These pictures are accurate depictions of my body weight before and after my decision to change my diet. The before pictures were taken one month before being diagnosed with near lethal Type 2 Diabetes. I was in trouble!

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These pictures are accurate depictions of my body weight before and after my decision to change my diet. The before pictures were taken one month before being diagnosed with near lethal Type 2 Diabetes. I was in trouble!

As a younger man I was a competition rider, worked hard, stayed fit and ate a lot. Past injuries started causing pain in my adult life so I significantly reduced my physical activity but my appetite remained in place.

One would not believe the list of excuses I utilised to justify my appetite with reduced physical activity. ‘Oh I’m very heavy boned. I really don’t eat that much, but my metabolism has changed. I carry my weight well, and it doesn’t bother me. I am drinking diet beverages now.’ I used all these and more. The facts will show that I was obese and my horses told me so.

In the racing industry there is a category called the handicap division. Races within this segment provide for the horses to run with various weight assignments that they are to carry on their backs. I have heard world class trainers scream to high heaven when an official assigns two or three more pounds to their horse than they believe appropriate given the competition for the day.

It is the goal of the official handicapper to apply weight to the runners in an attempt to cause each horse to reach the finish line at the same time. This method significantly increases the gambling potential on the race. Typically, the race official works with approximately 10 to 12 pounds (5.44kg) in this effort. One might ask, ‘Is a horse really that sensitive?’ They are.

Over centuries racing people have come to know that as little as two or three pounds can make a huge difference. It is my intention to bring several factors to mind that will cause readers to reconsider any preconceived notions as to weight and the effects of it on horses and humans. I have not always been a good role model when it comes to body weight but good sense and certain individuals in my life have encouraged me to make a change.

Would you believe that my life insurance was more expensive at age 63 than what it is today at age 76? Why do you think that is? It’s because the computers at the various medical offices in charge of examining me concluded that I have a better chance to live through the span of my policy then I did 13 years ago. The medical community is overwhelmingly impressed with this outcome.

The significant change I made was in diet. I can drink anything I want and as much as I want so long as it’s water. No alcohol, fruit juice or sweet drinks, only water. My diet consists of steamed, boiled or raw green vegetables (as well as tomatoes and onions), brown rice, and white chicken or white fish (spices and seasonings are OK). That’s it, three times a day, seven days a week, with the only snacks being cashews or almonds.

The doctors told me to eat this food with a significant amount of water. To me, this constituted a soup, or some might call it a stew. Each meal consists of approximately one litre of these ingredients. That’s a lot of food, which means I’m eating like a horse!

Love is a wonderful thing, and I firmly believe that each of us must begin with loving ourselves. Many horsemen like the Dorrance brothers and Ray Hunt expressed the theme, ‘You’ll never get your horse right until you get yourself right.’ I whole heartedly agree with this statement. I also believe that we will never get ourselves right until we succeed in liking ourselves.

Once we love ourselves we open the door to loving not only the people closest to us but our horses as well. We owe it to ourselves, our loved ones and our horses to maintain health to the fullest extent possible so that we assist our bodies to remain vital for the maximum amount of time. It is not only length of life that should concern us but the quality of life as well.

The horses that I ride now (and I certainly ride more than I did when I was overweight) like me better and perform far more generously than when they carried that extra 75 or 80 pounds. I feel sure that I did my body significant damage with years of obesity. I am just as sure that I am adding time to my existence since coming to my senses and choosing a better quality life.

The joy that I feel for having made this decision should encourage every reader to think hard on their goals for life and certainly the best interest of their horses if they are a rider. I am working harder than I’ve ever worked in my 76 years, but I don’t consider it work. I am having more fun than I have ever had as well. I love what I do and this means that I never have to ‘work’ another day in my life.

Key Communication

93 per cent of communication is non-verbal. Are you using yours effectively with your horse? Horse CommunicationHave you ever wondered why horses can respond totally differently to two people, even though their behaviour appears exactly the same? Whether doing mounted or ground work, I have witnessed this on numerous of occasions. I’ve been surprised by the vastly different results that two people performing the same actions often get. What is it about some people that are able to get that quiet sense of co-operation from their horses, while others seem to constantly struggle? I have been fascinated by this phenomenon for many years. Through my work in the field of Equine Guided Psychotherapy (EGP), I have been able to explore it in perhaps more detail than traditional horse work might normally allow for.

EGP is a form of psychotherapy for people that takes place on the ground with horses. The client might come for a range of issues including stress, anxiety or depression. Instead of traditional talking therapy, activities with horses are carefully designed to help each client move further towards their outcome. Often the horses are loose and have the choice to stay close to the client or keep their distance. In the EGP field, many practitioners believe that there is an underlying process taking place within the client which is different from their spoken communication. For  practitioners, the horses gave them important clues about what their clients’ inner processes might be.

Where the horses choose to stand when I am running an EGP session is an important piece of feedback for me. I have often found that when a client feels connected to their body with good access to their somatic (body) intelligence, the herd will often choose to stay close by. It is when we, as humans, inevitably return to our heads (maybe in discussing the exercise that has just taken place or talking about what might happen in the future) that the horses will often lose interest in the process and move further away.

We can see this in the round pen when training horses too. When sending a horse away for example, every cell in my body is saying ‘go away.’ I don’t need to say the words because my intention is very clear and my body follows. My eyes are fixed onto the horse’s eyes, the muscles in my face change and my stomach area is open, projecting my energy. If there was any area of doubt that crept in, the horse would be reading me, seeing and feeling this through my non-verbal communication.

Through the Monty Roberts method of horsemanship and Equine Guided Psychotherapy, I have come to the belief that horses attune to our inner truth. In other words, they respond to what we are feeling, rather than what we say we are feeling. They are constantly scanning for this somatic information. Their ancestors have had to as a matter of survival. Being able to read another animal’s true intention has enabled them to drink from the same watering hole as predators, keeping them going through 60 million years of evolution. If we know what to look for, we can learn from the horse’s natural expertise in this area, honouring them as teachers of honesty and complete congruency.

CASE STUDY

One of the most extreme examples I have seen in this area of my work came about on a Life Skills Course I was facilitating with young people that had been expelled from school. One of the clients used to alternate between an ‘egocentric’ and a ‘victim’ state of being. In the egocentric state, she made jokes to the rest of the group, spoke loudly and showed no fear, even though it didn’t match her non-verbal communication. In the victim state of being, she spoke very quietly, felt she had no choice and would often assign blame for all kinds of things to other members of the group.

One of the ponies we used for the riding part of the course was particularly expressive when relating to this client’s different emotional states. When the client was in either of these states, he used to strike up a nice canter and then come to a grinding halt and stick his head on the floor simultaneously. Not easy to stay on regardless how well balanced you are! There were other times that he went beautifully, despite the fact she had only been riding for a few months. What made the difference? I believe it was her internal state. He went well when her internal state reflected her external state and she acted with authenticity.

The Myth of Natural Horsemanship

An excerpt from award winning equestrian writer Tom Moates calls for clarity on the term 'Natural Horsemanship.'

Tom MoatesI must inform you that natural horsemanship is a myth - it does not actually exist. I know that sounds odd coming from the author of a book and countless articles on the subject. So, let me explain what I mean, and shed some light onto the true nature of those two words strung together before I tackle anything else.

Natural horsemanship is a term that casts such a wide net that it means, at most, very little, and very likely nothing at all. It apparently came into usage when the clinician Pat Parelli coined it to try and describe what he was doing with his horsemanship programme, and later wrote a book by the same name. The public, which always seeks to categorise people, places, things, and everything else under headings to try and make it all conform to some sense of law and order, scooped it up and lumped a huge spectrum of stuff under it.

On the other hand, it hasn’t hurt a whole slew of clinicians and practitioners of every sort to have some umbrella under which to tell the public that what they are doing is new, different, correct, valuable, and basically an innovative deal - whether that was actually the case or not.

The ‘natural’ association in the name easily aligns itself with increasingly popular environmentalist ideas, so it grabs the attention and quick endorsement of a growing and financially secure group of people already recycling, driving hybrids and buying earth friendly dish soap. It is without question the spearhead of a marketing coup with a great many millions of dollars spent to its credit annually. It was so successful that it swiftly and firmly became established in the global marketplace as well. It reminds me of the term ‘organic.’ Some years ago, a few folks coined that phrase to mean that the food they produced was free from pesticides, chemical fertilizers and other potentially hazardous ingredients. Today, largely due to the fact that organics became such a desirable, marketable item fetching high prices and developing wide consumer confidence, the term has been hijacked by big business. These days, thanks it seems to the lobbying efforts of corporations, one may even legally label food ‘organic’ that includes some non-organic ingredients, which is no where close to the original usage. As a descriptive term, it is so diluted now that in fact food must be labelled ‘100% organic’ to actually mean what used to be (and is probably now misunderstood by the buying masses today as) organic.

Back to natural horsemanship. It is just such a misnomer. First of all, there are numerous clinicians that I know that do not call themselves natural horsemen, and loath the term being used to describe them. However, they get lumped under the heading anyway by their pupils, authors, journalists and public at large that externally force the label upon them. Shouldn’t they know best what they are and what they do? Then there are also many clinicians that go out of their way to make certain they are associated with natural horsemanship.

Thinking‘Horse whisperer’ is another interesting and very closely related example. Because of the wide audience of the Hollywood film by that name, non-horse people in particular like to apply the term to many horse folk that also are lumped under the natural horsemanship heading. However, to a much larger extent, horse whisperer for some reason developed a somewhat negative connotation among horse folk. It seems generally politically incorrect to use it in horse circles, and one who does use it to describe himself instantly denotes himself as an outsider, even to many natural horsemanship enthusiasts. Perhaps it has to do with one of my all-time favourite clinician quotes from Buck Brannaman who said something like, ‘If someone comes up to you and calls himself a horse whisperer, put your hand on your wallet and get away as quickly as you can!’ It seems that the general meaning has shifted now, and one who calls himself a horse whisperer  is thought to be an obvious fraud.

Natural horsemanship as a compound phrase suffers terribly from this problem. It clearly seeks to describe subjects in the realm of horsemanship, but what is natural about it? I’ve heard clinicians that didn’t like being lumped under the heading argue to distance themselves from it saying things like, ‘If you put a halter or saddle on a horse, there’s nothing natural about that.’ Good point. There’s another one as well. Many people think the most completely natural horses in the world are the mustangs of the American west, but they aren’t the least bit natural either. The best book I ever read on that subject is Paula Morin’s compilation of 63 interviews with all kinds of people that have extensive personal experience with the wild horses of the Great Basin titled ‘Honest Horses’ (University of Nevada Press, 2006). She makes an outstanding point that is true but few people seem to realise: ‘Only the plain and stocky Przewalski Horse of Mongolia fits the scientifically rigorous definition for a bona fide wild horse.

Regardless of how many generations horses have lived on the range [the American west], feral is the accurate description for them. They are domestic animals that have returned to live in a wild state.’ And the fact that horses were reintroduced to North America by the Spanish only a few hundred years ago after a millennia long disappearance from this continent puts them at odds with the natural eco-system here. It is a relationship thus wrought with difficulties as the horses’ grazing habits destroy the natural balance of the ranges where they populate the regions. So, if mustangs in the wild, almost universally considered the most natural of all natural horses by the masses, aren’t natural, then what in the world possibly can be natural about any modern human/horse interaction? Especially those that involve man made tack, fencing and tools like crops?

The ‘natural’ derives from Parelli’s initial usage of the term, and in particular in his book, Natural Horse*Man*Ship. His reason for coining the phrase, he states in that narrative, had to do with describing the method of communicating he was working on between human and horse.He believed his games and pressure-and release methods were, as he says, ‘Native, instinctive, inborn, inherent and intuitive.’ Now therein lays an interesting use of natural. The term natural horsemanship is basically meant to be synonymous with something along the lines of, natural communication with horses, or speak Horse, or interact with horses the way they interact with each other in a herd and get more done with them more gently than most other humans do. That I can begin to follow, but there are such variations out there that it hardly nails down anything specific. Is Californio vaquero style of traditional horsemanship natural horsemanship, for instance? What about someone who trains with a natural horsemanship programme and then goes and competes with that horse.Can that still be considered natural horsemanship in the incredibly unnatural show ring? You get the idea.

Another misconception that runs rampant, and is eagerly proclaimed by some, is that natural horsemanship is brand new. The idea that many of the methods commonly boxed and sold to the public as innovations created recently and comprising a totally new revolution in working with horses is misleading. Really exceptional horse folk have existed at times since humans began working with horses. The main difference today is that the discussion about how one gets that good is at an entirely new level. I was recently watching a PBS documentary on the incredible English upper class woman turned Montana pioneer, Evelyn Cameron, when suddenly they mentioned a quote from one of her diary entries that I recognised instantly as what today we would call ‘desensitising’ a horse. I looked it up. She wrote exactly this on March 26, 1895 (the grammar is forgone a bit in this entry, but the meaning is clear):

‘Took the foals down to water. They were frightened of the clothes on the washing line blowing in the wind, therefore I made them go round and round the length of the line. Little grey [foal] was awfully wilful and threw itself down and skinned my fingers so I tied them up, put gloves on and broke one at a time. Had hard battle with Figs [iron grey] to get her to go under the line, but got both finally so that they let the clothes flap all round them.’

Horse's ThoughtUltimately, what natural horsemanship is if anything, is a shift in the language of horsemanship. How people change the language of horsemanship at large and share ideas as an attempt to impart ways of improving the horse/human relationship is where some consistency may be found under this heading. But, the frequent application of the term natural horsemanship to all kinds of people and methods muddies the waters. It might be best for those of us seeking a way to get better with horses to narrow our focus to a clearer understanding of what individuals are really doing with horses. Specifics are truly telling, and it’s perhaps best to leave the enormously broad überheadings out of the arena.

This excerpt is taken from the book 'A Horse's Thought - A Journey into Honest Horsemanship' by Tom Moates, which is now available for the Kindle. To learn more visit www.tommoates.com

Blabbermouth

Blabbermouth voice commands should be used with care warns Clinton Anderson.

I don’t encourage people to use a lot of voice commands, especially when they first start working with horses. It’s far more important to develop an awareness of your body language and learn how to communicate with your horse though this.

Blabbermouth

As a general rule, people who use a lot of verbal cues with horses have a tendency to have pretty poor body language and tend to nag their horses. Let me give you an example. Often I’ll see people at a horse show trying to get their horses to canter on a lunge line. They’ll point and say, ‘Canter, canter now.’ The horse ignores them so they repeat the cue to him, ‘Come on, canter. Why won’t you canter? Canter, canter, canter!’ They say the word canter so many times that it means absolutely nothing to the horse. They basically wear the word out so much that it has no meaning.

It’s like the little boy who cried wolf. He cried wolf so many times that when a wolf finally did show up, nobody believed him. Well, that’s the same problem people have with voice commands. They use the command and water it down so that it has no effect.

If I were going to teach a horse to canter off a verbal command, I would say canter once in a very firm, clear voice. If he didn’t canter, I’d pick up my stick and string and spank the ground behind him. If he still didn’t canter, I’d flick his hindquarters with the stick and string. If he still didn’t canter, I’d continue to flick his hindquarters harder until I made him feel so uncomfortable that he decided to canter. I’d use the voice command as plan A, spanking the ground as plan B, flicking him as plan C and flicking him harder as plan D, E, F, etc. I would make it easy for the horse to do the right thing and then I would make it harder and harder for him to ignore me until he chose to respond.

It’s the same thing that a broodmare does out in the pasture. She doesn’t immediately start kicking the other horse as hard as she possibly can. She goes in with a plan and gradually makes it more uncomfortable for the other horse to ignore her. Most people who use voice commands have the same plan A, but they don’t have a plan B, C or D. Every time you say a voice command and you don’t get a reaction, but you continue to use it, you’re teaching the horse to ignore that command.

The only voice commands I use are ‘whoa’ to stop and ‘cluck’ to speed up. Clucking means whatever you’re doing, do it faster. If I’m backing the horse up and I start clucking, it means back up faster. If the horse is side passing and I start clucking, it means side pass faster. Clucking doesn’t necessarily mean go forward, it means whatever you’re doing now, do it a lot faster. Those are the only two voice commands I encourage people to use. That doesn’t mean that I have a problem with people wanting to talk to their horses to soothe them when they’re rubbing them as a reward. But I do have a problem with people talking to their horses constantly to try to get the horse to do something. I want you to effectively communicate with your horse so that you can accomplish your goals and stay safe while doing it.

Give and Take

BridlelessBefore getting started in anything technical it is vitally important that you learn the art of give and take, writes Tina Kaven.

In my last article I talked about the thought processes behind training, riding, showing and further education. Now, I’d like to talk about my approach, theory and methodology.

This is simply my way, you can take what you want and leave what you don’t like! First and foremost, I work off of a ‘reward based system,’ verses a programme based upon fear. This is important because, as we discussed previously, you have to know where you are going before you can lead the way in an effective manner, and establish a relationship based upon trust. Now for the breakdown of how this works in the programme.

I am starting with the overview before we get into details. I call it the ‘take and release.’ This terminology refers to the method of utilising the reward based system. The idea is that you give the ‘take’ (or cue) and release as soon as you achieve the response you require. This way you reward the appropriate behaviour. What exactly is the release? It is simply stopping the cue at the very moment that the horse responds, thereby releasing the horse. Ultimately, what a horse wants is no different than what we humans want. We desire to do things right, stay out of trouble and learn that we are OK - no, better still, that we are good and appreciated for who we are and the efforts we make.

This is a widely misunderstood method. As a general rule riders do not release their horse at the appropriate time, which costs dearly and creates a great deal of misunderstanding, mistrust and frustration for both parties. Horses are intelligent regardless of what the public as a whole (and sometimes riders) believe. The issue is that riders do not reward/release the horse at the appropriate moments and therefore miss the opportunity for the horse to understand and grasp correct and incorrect behaviours.

I use the terms ‘take’ and ‘release’ because when I am working with others my goal is to help people learn the proper timing by highlighting to them the exact moment of opportunity. When we miss that opportunity we miss the chance to reward the horse and consequently train the horse to misbehave or to respond to our cues incorrectly. In addition, when we don’t give the release, the horse learns that there is nothing that they can do right, creating the atmosphere of frustration.

Further down the line the horse will give up his desire to please the rider and, as frustration increases, it results in many, many good, high quality horses being missed or dumped. The more clarity there is in the boundaries, the more intelligent and capable the horse will be (and appear to be). This changes the entire situation and I should add that the better rider and trainer you will feel and become. In addition, the confidence of both horse and rider is boosted tenfold! In the next few months I will dissect the actual application of all of the aids (voice, seat, leg, and hand) while keeping in mind that the ‘take and release’ is a requirement of success.

Tina Kaven is a multiple World Champion in western events. Learn more at www.kavenranch.com

Meet and Lead

Drawing on her experiences as an NLP practitioner Laira Gold explains how horses are no different to humans in their need to be understood before being asked to try a new behaviour. Meet and LeadHorses are always asking ‘who is leading now?’ From the horse’s point of view we are unable to lead unless our sensory channels are fully open, aware of every little rustle in the bush and movement in the shadows. Within the herd this is a matter of survival. It is the lead mare’s job to take the herd away from danger to safety.

If we were to ask a horse to do something unfamiliar, such as putting on the first saddle of their life, before acknowledging their natural flight instincts, we are much less likely to have a willing partner that is happy to stand still while we carry out our work. By creating a training environment where the horse can be encouraged to explore their flight instincts safely, the trainer (or therapist) can stand back and feel at ease no matter what the horse does.

Most training is made up of this delicate art of accepting what ‘is’ and then stretching the horse’s ability sufficiently. It is when we get this balance right that we create an optimum learning environment. Too much accepting of what ‘is’ can create boredom and a stagnation in learning for the horse and us. On the other hand too much leading, pushing or stretching on our part can create stress not only for the horse but for the trainer too.

In Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) we explore the relationships between how we think and how we communicate. The therapist monitors patterns of behaviour and emotion and works with their client to transform the way they think and act. It is said that an NLP practitioner cannot lead before they have paced. This means that we first need to acknowledge the client’s current experience (pace), do it again (pace), and then lead with a thought or suggestion of our own. Hypnotherapists use this all the time. It’s what is sometimes called a hypnotic suggestion.

Part of my job as a psychotherapist is to meet and work with the client’s experience in the current moment. In the psychotherapy culture I come from, great emphasis in placed on working with the client’s ever-changing somatic (body) experience, perhaps more so than on past analysis or etiology (the cause of the problem). This only really happens if we are truly present, gaining rapport through observing and responding to all the non-verbal information happening within the client in that moment.

When I break rapport with a client, it is often because I have mismatched that client or tried to lead them without acknowledging their current experience of reality first. I recently worked with a high achieving professional from the advertising world. She came to me in a state of distress because her marriage was in ruins. She had been rewarded for most of her life by thinking analytically, even around extremely painful issues such as death. She presented well thought through arguments to each possible pathway that she felt she had available to her. She was operating at a cognitive level. I knew that the type of thinking required to solve this kind of problem was very different to the one she had been used to  throughout the rest of her working life.

Part of our work together was to enable her to access intelligence of a more somatic nature (the ability to sense and appreciate one’s own body and to relate to the needs of others). However I needed to lead her into this way of thinking gently. It was only once I was able to acknowledge and respect her existing way of coping that I was able to lead with any suggestions of my own.  Studying the parallels between successfully working with humans and horses is an area I find fascinating. Once we can understand the psychology of the horse and work with his energy rather than against it, we soon realise there is very little reason to get upset. It’s the same for psychotherapy work. Maintaining an attitude where there is no such thing as a resistant client, only a resistant therapist, can be a very helpful and humbling.

CASE STUDY In these series of images you can see me working with young Icelandic that, until this point, had very little leading experience. In the still you can see her going through a dilemma stay true to her natural instincts and stay away away from predators, or should she take a chance on me? The reason she goes against her instincts and accepts my invitation to ‘join-up’ with me is because I first acknowledged (or paced) her natural flight instinct. In other words, I met her in the moment and then I led with a suggestion of my own. Case Study

Setting Boundaries

In 2005, I left a busy career on the trading floor of an investment bank and began training as a psychotherapist, helping human beings to increase their sense of choice in the world. Around the same time, I discovered the work of Monty Roberts, the internationally acclaimed ‘horse whisperer,’ famous for ‘joining-up’ with a wild Mustang in the Nevada desert. Setting BoundariesJust as in human psychotherapy, there are many forms of training in the horse world yet from the beginning I could see a connection between what I was learning in the psychotherapy training room and the Monty Roberts method of horsemanship. This made me think how the skills of horsemanship align with those of an effective psychotherapist. I start with a skill I believe is key to both professions - setting and maintaining boundaries.

Just as with human facilitators, good horse handlers know that negotiating the terms of the contract with their horse in the early stages of the relationship will mean an easier time in the long run. If we don’t do this consciously, then chances are a vacuum sets in and the horse may feel the need to fill it. With more challenging horses, just as with more challenging human clients, the terms of the contract are constantly being negotiated and boundaries are continuously being defined and redefined. Sometimes, this is the very essence of the work.

I recently worked with a horse called Bertie that didn’t like to stand at the mounting block. He would dart around, spinning his hind quarters away from it. There was no way you could mount him when he was in this state of mind; so I helped his owner to work with him on this problem. At first, she gave him the freedom to explore his options, which in this case was backing up. She allowed him to find out for himself where her boundaries were by making it uncomfortable when he backed up. She did this by taking the lead on the manoeuvre, backing him up further until she decided to stop. She also made it comfortable when he stood still by giving him a rub, slackening the lead rope and not asking anything else from him. Timing and consistency are everything.

Through these stages, they created a contract where they both win by fulfilling each of their obligations to each other. In three days, Bertie was mounting beautifully even in busy showlike environments.

For psychotherapeutic work with people, the skills required are very similar. I once worked with a young girl whose family was suffering from extreme financial hardship. To begin with she presented as a polite, socially well adjusted, intelligent little girl. I thought I had been sent the wrong client. About half way through the year long programme, I began to get another part of her. This was a part that hadn’t been given much airtime until then. So when it did surface, it was infused with rage and expressed itself with physical violence. Just as Bertie’s owner and I allowed him to express himself, my job with the little girl was to create a space where the enraged part of her could show up in the room. To do this, I had to maintain what Carl Rogers (a founder of the humanistic approach to psychology) refers to as an ‘unconditional positive regard.’ However, I also had to be very clear that certain behaviours were unacceptable while she was experiencing this part of herself. Just as with some horses, she didn’t like the feeling of crossing over a boundary, but to find out where the boundary was she had to behave in a way that would test it. Through testing it, she could also find out whether I was consistent and whether she was safe or not.

In my experience, many horse ‘problems’ come from insecurity. Take Bertie – he wasn’t moving because he was deliberately seeing what he could get away with. He was unsure. No one had ever been clear and consistent enough with him to show him what was expected. Once he understood his end of the contract both the owner and I heard him breathe out a huge sigh of relief. Being ‘boundaried’ sounds simple but it isn’t always easy in practice - I think any mother will agree. Deciding early on where our own personal boundaries are; giving the client (human and horse) the freedom to discover where they are; finding a way of communicating our boundary in a way that feels right for you; responding in a timely fashion; and being consistent in that communication - these are all important skills in their own right.

Parelli Horsenality

An innovative method from Pat Parelli designed to help you learn more about how your horse thinks. The Parelli Horsenality Report is a strategy developed to help horses, owners, handlers and riders to get to know each other better and improve their relationship. Knowing what makes your horse tick, what’s important to him, what motivates, demotivates, upsets and excites him is a fantastic key to success.

HorseinalityWhen you get it right both of you will be happier and achieve more harmony every time you are together Horsenality is the term that I coined to refer to a system of understanding horses through their basic personality types.

One of the main goals of the Parelli programme is to help horse owners understand their horse's individual personality and to educate them about how to teach their horses in the ways that are most effective for each personality type. The Horsenality system helps people quickly identify a horse's innate character. They can then create instant rapport and achieve great results by knowing what's uniquely important to that individual horse. This approach to understanding the equine mind helps horses – and their humans – become more balanced, centred and confident.

Understanding Horses The journey starts with understanding the basic nature of your horse. Horses are prey animals and hunted in nature so safety is their primary concern and fear their primary reaction. They are herd animals who look to their ‘alpha’ for leadership. Understanding even these basics can transform your frustration with a horse as you learn to step into his shoes and see the world from his point of view, as well as become his trusted leader. The next step in the journey is to determine his or her individual personality type.

Horsinality Chart

Within the Parelli method of horse training, Horsenality is divided into two main categories: 1) Introvert / Extrovert, and 2) Left / Right brained. Your horse will be a combination of both categories.

Introvert/Extrovert - Extroverted – high energy, quick with a tendency to run - Introverted – low energy, slow with a tendency to stop

Left/Right brained - Left brained - dominant, brave, confident, calm and tolerant - Right brained – submissive, fearful, lacking in confidence, nervous and reactive

Each Horsenality and its unique characteristics, motivators, needs, wants, desires, behaviours etc. have been studied in depth, including the leadership strategies that streamline the training of each horse personality. For the first time you can generate a detailed report that reveals your horse and takes your relationship and success to the next level. This 40+ page personalised report is totally focused on your horse and helps you understand strengths and solve problems with more clarity.

In order for the Parelli team to put together the Horsenality Report folder, which provides more than a year’s worth of development and play for you and your horse, you start by answering a set of assessment questions online. These questions can take as little as 30 minutes to complete and in return can lead to months of new adventures and learning.

When your Horsenality Report arrives you will be blown away by the amount of personalised information that is provided to help you and your horse reach new highs in your relationship.