Friday, February 21, 2014

17th reason to be in AWE - you do not have to own a horse or be a horse trainer

A week or so ago, a person was watching just a little bit of one of our horsemanship sessions. She said she has never seen anything like it before! And then she asked how long it takes the horse to learn it, and if it's the same for every horse. And this is where it can get tricky, and a person can get pretty easily offended, if the explanation here isn't quite right. You see, it isn't so much about the horse as it is the person. I mean it is but it isn't. The horse won't do this amazing stuff if the person doesn't learn it and doesn't learn how to communicate with the horse. Ever heard someone say, "that is a stupid horse" or "that is a bad horse" or "that is a stubborn horse, he won't do anything I tell him to! I give him the cue over and over and over again, and he just won't do it!"  Oh? ever think to try a different "cue?" Or just present it a little differently maybe? You never know. Often when we change our behavior, the horse's behavior immediately changes too! You'd be surprised how often that really does happen.
So no, you don't have to be a horse trainer to enjoy a horsemanship program. But you will figure things out faster if you remind yourself that it's usually not so much about what the horse is doing as it is about what the person is doing.
Several of our horses here have advanced through the first two levels, thanks to some great people who took the time to learn the program along with the horses. And a few of our horses here have started on more advanced levels, but only because their humans have also gone through the levels, starting at the very beginning. things like approaching the horse, haltering the horse, picking up the horse's feet, etc., and advancing into riding if the person so desires. Even people with previous riding experience who come here to be in AWE start at the very beginning of this program. They may move through the first couple of levels more quickly than a total beginner. Or maybe not. It's about communication and partnerships. So you know, some people have to come to terms with that first.
When a person first starts being in AWE, we try to partner that person with a horse who already has some of this horsemanship experience. And then as the person advances, she may switch to a different horse. This new horse may have just a little bit different personality than the first horse, and the person may have to make some communication type changes with the new horse. But that experience too will improve her horsemanship skills.
That is why, even if you do have a horse at home, you may still come here and go through this horsemanship program with our horses here. Everything you learn here, you can take home to your own horse.
That's right. It's not so much about training the horse as it is helping the person learn how to communicate with horses. So that the person can have a better relationship with every horse she encounters for the rest of her life. So the person and the horse can be safe, happy, and successful. Together. As partners.
How much of this you want to apply to your life outside of the barn is up to you. We DO want our horsemanship participants to develop excellent horsemanship skills. But it's really pretty hard to ignore how it all relates to our human communications as well, both personally and professionally.
So nope, you don't have to own a horse to be in AWE. Our horses here, all 18 of them, are quite ready and willing! And nope, you don't have to be a horse trainer to be able to be in AWE. In fact, you don't need any prior horse experience at all. Our horses will show you everything you need to know. About  life.