Friday, 13 January 2012

Trust, Belief, Confidence and Respect

In any partnership there are fundamental components that  must be present and  solid.  This is true with human/human  partnerships and  in interspecies relationships.

In a relation ship with horses the four  listed components are critical.  In my mind they follow in order TRUST, followed by BELIEF, then comes CONFIDENCE and finally RESPECT.  

When you first approach a horse you need  to get him/her to trust you  just to approach  him/her.  There are a number of  methods you can  use to do this.  The clinician  programs go into detail about the methods they advocate.  Take a look at them, try them and you and your horse will decide what is best for you.  Once established  trust must be maintained and sustained to grow and reinforce it.

The next step is to build belief in both yourself and  in the horse that your trust is solid.  The horses needs to believe that you are not going to hurt them  and you are not going to trap them.  The horses dignity is important and  if you are going to be accepted as a partner you  must maintain his/her dignity while at the same time demonstrating that you  have dignity and  respect for yourself.  In this relationship you need the horse to see you as a leader who he can believe in.  A leader isn`t necessarily an autocratic boss.  Horses are herd animals, and,  in a herd there is a pecking order.  You need to be one step up from  your horse  for safety reasons as a minimum.

As your  partnership strengthens on the pillars of trust and belief  the confidence the horse has in you will also build.  As the horse gets more confident, so do you.  It is a symbiotic relationship, man with horse, building a strong connection, reinforcing each others energy.  This confidence will keep building throughout your partnership as  long as trust and belief are maintained.

The final component  is respect.  This must be a mutual respect.  The horse needs to accept  that you are above  him in the herd  order and you  need to respect that he will continue to act like a horse.  Horses almost never bite, strike, kick or charge as a defence or offence.  It is almost always an act of play.  It can  never the less be dangerous.  If  your horse feels trapped  and/or  threatened  he will defend himself.  His  first defence  is flight.  If  he feels trapped  however,  he will use the other methods to defend  himself.  He is just being a horse.  Always remember that and respect it.  You are the one higher in the herd.  It is your responsibility to see his fear and  emotions.  It is you who must  act before he reacts.  It is you  who must respond  to remove the  fear and shape  his response.

 There is no place for anger and punishment, ever.

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