I just wanted to add a bit more to the last post about blocks. Sometimes the thought of having to learn something new is just too much. If we are relatively satisfied with how things are going – why would we bother? And if we did bother, we would prefer it to be easy and quick!
In terms of horse training, what would it take to try something completely different? And I mean completely different – not just a different way to hold the reins or move the horse around – but a different way to be with the horse.
It sounds daunting and magical at the same time.
Ohh! This thought has just come to me!
A few years back – before I found clicker training – Ducati used to regularly say to me “Forget everything you know – remember everything you know”. I would say to him that I didn’t understand that – and I would get no response.
Fast forward ten years – I think I’m getting it. He was telling me to forget the cultural norms and to remember what was in my heart. My heart always said that we (horse and human) are equals and that we have no right to treat them as lesser beings who have no choice.
He also told me that they are waiting for us humans to catch up. There is so much we need to learn and it will benefit us greatly. I didn’t really know what he meant but I was sure that he was correct. I would tell him that we are slow learners!
Now I finally get it. But what gave me the push to search for answers? If you have read the ‘Journey Series’ you will know that I reached rock bottom after my experience with Kert – and I was desperate to get help for Magnum.
However, before that, I had already been introduced to clicker training when I visited Equitana again in Melbourne. I watched Georgia Bruce give a clicker training demonstration. I was amazed! Her horse was like a dog!!! You can read the blog here https://horsemagic.blog/2018/02/18/part-23-equitana-an-awakening/
This was a step up from the table full of clickers – now I could see how it worked! There was such a fun vibe to it. I’d never seen anything like it!
I decided to give it a go – but, it all seemed too hard – I didn’t continue. I didn’t take the time to understand it and soon ran into trouble. Magnum would snatch the treat and move away quickly. I didn’t see that as solving the problem. I was still looking for a quick fix – and that’s when the Kert saga started!
In other words, I was looking for a magical person to give me all the answers. I wanted others to do it. I so quickly gave up on clicker training. It was all too hard, too detailed. I had horses mugging me – and I had Magnum desperate for his treat, but running away as quickly as he could.
At the time I had no idea of cultural fog – or that I was in it. All I knew was that being forceful didn’t sit well with me – but I thought that was a fault on my part. I’d thought that from the first time I sat on a horse. I just saw myself as lacking confidence and that it was a problem I needed to overcome. I’d been criticised so often for ‘letting the horse get away with it’.
The main message being sent to me by all my horse teachers, and all the clinicians I’d had dealings with was that I was weak and that I needed to be stronger, clearer and more assertive. I had let the horse control the situation – the horse did not respect me – and the way to do that was to use more force!
If I think about it, I was constantly being told that if I didn’t show ‘strength’ by using aggression, I would never succeed. That’s how horse training was measured. And that’s how I was measured. From the age of eight when I was first sat on the pony that bolted for home, I was told I was too weak. Those messages became entrenched… but somewhere in the deep recesses, I knew there was more. I knew even then that there was a better way.
Ducati’s message finally became clear. I had to remember everything that I truly knew. And what I knew was to be kind and treat people and animals with respect and compassion.
For me, I knew that – I had sat for all those years in the cultural norm feeling like there was something wrong with me. So for me I guess stepping away to something different was easier? If I was already an outcast in the normal horse world, it wouldn’t really matter if I was still an outcast!!!
So we finish this post with what? Well it shows that my experience with stepping outside the ‘norm’ wasn’t only to do with Magnum and getting help for him. Underneath I always felt things weren’t right. I just didn’t know what to do about it because I had been told I was the problem. But perhaps having that inner feeling helped me to look for an alternative.
I’d love to know – have others had that same feeling? I’m sure some of you have!
Until next time!
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