Thursday, April 18, 2013

Every team needs a coach or captain, and in horsemanship that needs to be the human not the horse

In yesterday's horsemanship session we concentrated on some aspects of leadership and partnership. We have seen what happens when the horse is the leader in the horse-human partnership. It isn't good for the human, but the horse has a blast. In that moment anyway. But it really isn't good for the horse either, in that horse's future horse-human relationships. Our goal is to try to achieve a horse-human partnership that gives the human 51% and the horse 49% of the leadership role. Every team needs a coach or captain. And in horsemanship, that needs to be the human.
We've seen humans who allow the horse to walk all over them or into them. Who allow the horse to walk away from them or walk anywhere the horse wants to go. We've seen humans who step aside or back if the horse wants to go there. And while that is better than getting stepped on, it isn't how a good horse-human partnership is developed.
We strive for a horse-human partnership that is fun and safe for both partners. Where the horse is a willing partner, not forced to do something. Where the horse wants the human to be the leader. And so, the human has the responsibility of identifying some lines. The line between being submissive and being assertive. And the other line between being assertive and being aggressive. Submissive and aggressive are not going to work too well. Finding these lines is important. And as we continue along our horsemanship journey, we humans get better and better at knowing where these lines are, and trying not to cross over them to the point of submissive or aggressive. If we are going to be the leaders, we need to be aware of where we are in relationship to these lines. We need to self-evaluate often, and get to where we can quickly realize when we are getting close to crossing the line over to submissive or the other way to aggressive. We just need to think about it and check ourselves often. Until it becomes a part of us. So that we always know the moment we are about to cross over that line and that we know what to do in that instant to strengthen, not weaken our relationship with our horse partner.