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The Horse Whisperer In You

Is there a Horse Whisperer in you? According to Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, the definition of a Horse Whisperer is a horse handler who adopts a sympathetic view of the motives, needs, and desires of the horse, based on natural horsemanship and modern equine psychology.

Body language is a great communicator between the horse and the handler. Horses use ear and head positions, showing of teeth, swinging of hips and speed of movement to communicate. Recognizing the signs of fear or threat to build trust between the horse and the handler is vital to communication.

Horse Whisperers understand that fear, pain and distrust do not result in a relationship that will benefit the horse or the handler. After all, the object is for the horse to be calm and feel safe throughout the training process. A horse that feels safe will bond with the handler and the results can be remarkable.

Whenever I hear the term "Horse Whisperer", I first think of my grandfather who was well known for his unique ability with horses especially those considered difficult, dangerous or at times, ready for shipment to the glue factory. I used to watch him from a distance as he approached each new arrival facing the magnificent animal with calmness, patience, and great presence.

He always began the introduction by slowly walking around the small coral never turning his back from the horse. His steps were equally paced and his eyes were locked in with those of the horse. I watched as the horse turned to face my grandfather and was always a gasp away as I wondered if horse would charge.

When a horse would become uncomfortable or seem to begin a charge, my grandfather would hold his ground and stand still facing the animal with quiet strength and resolve and eventually the horse would calm and the dance between the two would begin again.

The second phase of training began by encouraging the horse to run away as my grandfather made loud noises and large flapping hand movements. This seemed an odd way to build on the trust they had developed but my grandfather explained he was giving the horse the choice to flee or follow. Unlike most traditional horse training techniques where the trainer demands that the horse be subservient, my grandfather was giving the horse a choice.

The training was complete when my grandfather turned his back on the horse and, through body language alone, invited the animal to follow. To my amazement, the horse would follow - head down - slowly inching toward my grandfather in quiet submission. This act was proof that the horse somehow understood my grandfather’s intentions were not to harm him but rather to communicate.

My grandfather would later teach me many important lessons over the years but his horse training techniques taught me at a very young age that through kindness and the sincere desire to understand the needs of another we can develop and nurture a relationship with animals as well as each other. Now you may wonder, how can I develop these techniques for myself? In order to create the proper training environment between yourself and the horse, I recommend the following:

• Adopt a sympathetic view of the motives, needs, and desires of the horse.

• Use and interpret body language to communicate.

• Establish eye contact with the horse.

• Approach the horse with calmness, patience, and great presence.

• Recognize the signs of fear and threat to build trust between the horse and you.

• In the face of adversity hold your ground with quiet strength and resolve.

• Give the horse the choice to flee or follow.



Resources:

-The Horse Whisperer the movie 1998

-montyroberts Monty Roberts known as the “The Man Who Listens to Horses,”

-Amazon – Horse Whisperer

-Horses in my Life – Monty Robert

See Also

-The Maui Horse Whisperer Experience

-Shy Boy – DVD – Monty Roberts

 

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