Monday, 9 January 2012

A Measure of Partnership

Give, Offer, Accept, Receive

Four simple words that mean so much with horses and people.  We don`t think about them  much.  We should.  Understanding what they mean will give a measure of the strength of the partnership you have with your horse.

In the natural horsemanship world we teach horses to give to pressure in an appropriate manner.  The pressure can be applied in different ways.  When the horse responds to pressure in the appropriate way we accept the result by releasing the pressure.  As the strength of the partnership increases the amount of the required pressure decreases, the response is quicker and more precise and so our acceptance must be clear and  timely.  This is the core of the development of  timing and feel.

As the partnership continues to strengthen the horse will begin to offer  responses to you.  For example when you approach the paddock the horse may knicker and come to the gate to meet you.  This is an offer to be with you.  You receive the offering when you enter the paddock and allow the horse to touch you.  When  you  are with your horse  he  may  go and  touch  something that you have been  playing with.  You  receive that gift and reward the horse.  The reward can be anything  you  and  your  horse  agree on.

The next step in partnership growth is when the horse comes to you  and  gives you  a cue that he wants something.  I am  referring  to non  food  items.  The most frequent request is for a scratch  or a rub.  You should accept the cue and honour the request. They may even  go and get  a halter and bring it to you.  The message is pretty clear.  You have a partner.

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