The Partnership Begins the Moment The Horse Sees You
by Parelli Natural Horsemanship on Dec 15, 2021
Many of us horse owners are accustomed to working in the round pen, arena, or on the trail. Yet the incredible thing about working with horses is that every moment we spend with them is a teaching moment. Horses are never not learning, so your work together starts not when you swing your leg over, but from the very moment your horse sees you.
Horses are wired to constantly adapt to avoid danger. This instinct causes them to be very aware to patterns and changes. Because of this, they aren’t just learning as they trot down the centerline. They’re also learning when we halter them in the pasture, groom them, introduce them to a new object at the barn, and walk them on a loose rein.
Rewiring Your Horse’s Instincts
Our horse’s lives consist of a series of daily habits and skills that yield partnership behavior (or don’t). While instinct dictates that they act like prey animals, it’s our job to teach them to act like partners.
This means that it is up to you to always create situations for your horse to act like a partner, and to reward him when he does. If there is a situation causes your horse to react in fear, take a step back to build his confidence so that you can work up to conquering that fear together. If your horse is unsure or pushy in your daily routine, find ways to clarify the task and encourage participation.
By rewiring your horse’s instinct from prey animal to willing partner, you can transform not only your partnership, but also his quality of life (and yours!).
Create Partnership Routines
Creating a stunning partnership doesn’t have to happen over multiple weekend clinics. On the contrary: your partnership starts the moment your horse sees you every day and doesn’t end until you leave the barn.
- Keep it simple: start by establishing a relational connection through every interaction with your horse, starting with your daily barn chores, and working your way through handling, grooming, and tacking up.
- Pay attention: Take note of his emotional state and work on habits that build partnership. How does your horse communicate to you in his reactions? Does he regularly display fear, dominance, or confusion in new or difficult tasks?
This mental and emotional connection will become a physical connection when you ride, because your horse is learning to participate and problem solve alongside you, versus simply submit to you.
Creating a Lasting Partnership
The best thing you can do for your equine partner is learn about the root of his behaviors and how to properly read him. The Ultimate Horse Behavior Series gives you a practical approach to horse development because it guides you through how to create a partnership in all situations and scenarios with your horse by using equine psychology. Learn to communicate in a natural way with your horse by taking a look inside his mind, emotions, and motives.
Every action and interaction your horse plays a part in his development. Through the Ultimate Horse Behavior Series, you will be empowered to create a horse that is calm, confident, and engaged in the barn, arena, trailer, and trail.
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