You and Your Horse

Finding your own way with horses

Letting a horse be a horse

Why it is important to understand the horse's needs.

Many have problems with their horses – the horses don’t do what their owners or riders want or expect them to do, they don’t listen or fight against humans and so many people assume horses to be mean or stubborn and think that they are trying to annoy or provoke them on purpose.

We think that NONE of this is true, because we believe that every horse has a REASON for its behavior.

In our opinion there is one very common (and sad) myth concerning horses and that’s the myth of dominance. Horses which don’t do what someone wants them to do are often called “dominant”. Many approaches to handling or training horses suggest that we should become a dominant leader ourselves: otherwise the horse will take over. This leads to various techniques and practices intended to ensure your ability to subdue your horse. And it is by then – at the latest – that the problems will appear.

We do not believe in the concept of dominance, at least not dominance against us humans. Why? Simply because no horse will take us for a horse! There is no need for a horse to show any dominant behavior against a human being, because we are not competing for either food or mares.

If horses are rude, intrusive or even aggressive, there are always reasons for this behaviour. And only if we try to understand these reasons rather than calling horses dominant (and forcing them to stop what they are doing), can  we work WITH the horses. Working with the horses means trying to understand and see their side of things, by asking ourselves, what problem the HORSES have:

  • Does he not understand us? Then it is our job to communicate in a way the horse can understand.
  • Does he not know what to do? Then it is our job to teach the horse in a way the horse really can learn.
  • Is he in pain? Then it is our job to find the reason for the pain (physical matters, painful tack, painful handling and so on) and put an end to it.
  • Is he frightened? Then it is our job to create an atmosphere of trust and calm.
  • Can he not fulfill what we want?  Then it is our job to accept it.

Only if we are willing to see the horse’s side, can we work WITH him instead of constantly fighting and forcing. In our experience most horses desperately want to understand, but often our way of communicating with the horse is wrong or we want things from them that they can’t do.  We are almost always the cause of the problems. Accepting this insight opens the door to self-reflection and openness to learn.

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