Subject: Building Trust

When I observe people and horses; it often seems to me that when the horse is trying to avoid something, or maybe is not doing what the human is asking him, it is because the horse's sense of self-preservation is immediately taking effect.  This may seem as though the horse does not want to cooperate.  But the human needs to recognize the whole horse.  The horse has a basic need for self-preservation.
-Tom Dorrance
What we think about when we ride will make all the difference.  Believe in both yourself and your horse, for greatness is always there, just waiting to flow freely.
Building Trust

When I ponder the challenges we humans have with our horses and how quickly we are to blame something in the horse or perhaps something being wrong with us, the trust word comes to mind. Often it seems obvious to us when an issue arises, we humans are quick to blame the horse. “He should know better than to do that.” We are often giving the horses human characteristics. We humans are given by divine nature, dominion over these partners of ours. Just or not, qualified or not, that's just the way it is. When we lack the leadership skills required to lead this “life dance” we often become overwhelmed, confused, worried, or even afraid. Yet we want so strongly to get along with our horses and for them to exhibit no fear. If our horses would only find a way to trust us, they would not hesitate to do the things we ask of them. If I came to you and told you that you could trust me, would you? Or, would I need to show you that you could. What would it take for that trust to take place between us?

Who are the people in your life that you trust most? I'm guessing that they might not be the ones that you only have an enjoyable cup of coffee with once in a while. I choose coffee here because that can be a very enjoyable activity for me. Not much scary in that, (unless it's too weak). Ok, think of people outside yourself that you see as having great trust between each other. I think of those who have perhaps been through a challenging ordeal or even some hell together. Why should we expect our horses to trust us, not be worried or to even be respectful of us, “just because”.

Do you expect your horse to act the way you think he should? If he doesn't, what do you do, and how do you go about it? Were you able to build trust through the process? Did he become even more worried or afraid? Were you feeling confident with your approach (fix)?

A great horseman, not so long ago suggested that we go ahead and see our horses to trouble. “Be sure not to push the horse into trouble but go there with him and if you can then show him a way back from that trouble, that would be a good thing.” Trusting your horse to make that little trip with you can go a long way. The more we can keep our cool and not be bothered ourselves when trouble presents itself, the more likely the horse is going to look us up to see if things are going to be ok. Having the tools to support him is key to our success. The more knowledge and experience we have the more we are going to be felt as confident and trustworthy to the horse. We will build that trust from experience and from the horses view of us. Keep in mind that the horse would rather follow than lead. Help him to be a confident and comfortable follower by becoming a leader that he chooses to follow and you will be amazed at the trust that develops. The more success we experience together in this area of trust, the more distant trouble becomes. Avoiding those scary things that present themselves just brings that trouble bar closer to us. Trust originates with us...

As I think of a photo or two to go with this article on trust and perhaps a fun comical horse cartoon from author Jean Abernethy's “Fergus” (you find these at the bottom of most of our newsletters) a great one comes to mind: “Fergus, A Horse to Be Reckoned With”. Janet and I received a copy in the mail and we both agreed that if we didn't know who wrote this great little story we would not have been surprised if the late Tom Dorrance had something to do with it. This treasure, in my opinion speaks to Tom's style. Tom is without a doubt one of my favorite horsemen. He had a way of getting into the inside of the horse. He built tremendous trust in the horses and spent much of his life sharing his gifts with others. If you are looking for a perfect gift for your horse friends, consider Jean's book.  It has a great message.

Ride Your Dream... Robert
Visit our Youtube channel for ideas on movements and thoughts to grow your communication with your horse. 
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Robert and Janet Phinney
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(509)520-8777/7599

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