Respect

 

Respecting a horse starts with the understanding that most of the violent behavior of a horse toward a person is due to fear. Horses are prey animals, so they are wired to be suspicious and to panic. Also, many of the horses we work with are victims of abuse by prior owners. Many times, trainers take a fear response from a horse as the horse’s disrespect of the trainer’s position of authority. If a horse does not see you as a threat, because you are working with it as a partner, there is no reason to bite and kick to try to make you back off. I am no Pollyanna: Horses do kick and bite, and the trainer must always do whatever it takes to be safe. When I apply respect for the horse and the other principles detailed later, I find that the violence toward me by horses is reduced by over 90%. I see myself as the leader of the team, and I want the horse to respect that leadership. Does this happen 100% of the time? No. There will always be testing and opportunities for further understanding on the part of the trainer and the horse.

Respect to Yielding: Practicing respect for the horse, the trainer will experience the horse respecting the trainer and yielding to the lesson.