The way we think about our horses influences the way we act. This in turn results in either a great equine relationship or one that needs some improvement.
The first step to improving our way of thinking is choosing the words we use when talking to, or about our equines. Referring to them by name rather than ‘it’ or even ‘he/she’ acknowledges they are a sentient being with feelings and emotions just like us.
Using terms like ‘break/breaker/breaking in’ implies the horse will be ‘broken’ literally! Much better to ‘start’ a horse and ‘educate’ for a long term mentally and physically sound horse. Changing our language can help change our attitude!
Thinking about our equine as a best friend is the ideal way to develop a great relationship.
When you are about to do something with your horse, ask yourself “would I ask this of my best friend?”
If the answer is no, then you may want to change what you’re about to do.
For example; you want your horse to run around you in circles until you say they can slow down or stop – a human friend would get pretty sick of this if there wasn’t a very good reason – always have a purpose for doing any task or exercise, and reward with more than just removing the pressure! A kind word, a rub, some food, is a small price to pay for cooperation and willingness.
One of my favorite passages says it all – “His thinking expressed genuineness….sincerity….admiration….appreciation….respect….affection…..a sense of fellowship in being…..humility….unselfishness……sympathy…..and a desire to share his best, and only his best with his animals. As a result of this the horses and camels responded to him with the best they had in mind and heart, as well as with the best they could contribute in physical action.” From the book ‘Kinship with All Life’ by J. Allen Boone.
You may also be interested in a a related article called Watch Your Thoughts!