Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Best of Friends

Meet Harry and Rebel, two good buddies who are part of a herd of five - see their changing moods in this series of photographs! Their play is mock-fighting and doing what comes naturally to them, along with just the pleasure of being still in each other's space.

These two enjoy a gambol in the arena too ... after all, the arena's for them too, right? The fun of the firm sand under their hooves in the middle of winter when the paddock is wet, muddy and slippery can provide additional joy ... so let 'em loose, sit back and enjoy the show!

You know how it is to have a best friend ... someone you have a special relationship with, someone you joke around with, share things with, and simply enjoy each others' company! If you are a horse lover, you probably already know that horses develop special friends too.

It's not good enough to be 'over the fence' from your friends! Buddies like Harry and Rebel do best and are much happier when they are allowed to live naturally, ie: in the same pasture.

In the Horse Psychology and Behaviour Courses that I'm running this winter, we talk a lot about the different needs of horses (Physical, Mental, Emotional and Spiritual) and a horse who has most of her needs met are happier and have less 'issues' than those whose needs are not being met.

Studies have shown that Wild and feral horses develop special friends too ... loyalties and preferences being a part of herd life.

A horse alone in the field is one of the saddest sights of all ... always provide your horse with a friend and if you have a herd who run together, know that you are providing a natural social environment that is healthy for your horses, the added bonus being great entertainment for you when the mood's right!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

What season are you in?

Did you know that a smile is truly real when you do it when you are alone. What makes you smile when you are alone? Thinking about my horses playing and being 'cheeky' always puts a smile on my face, along with remembering moments that have brought me joy, and thinking about fun things I am planning for the future, along with the kindness and thoughtfulness of my dear friends.

I was listening to a motivational speech a couple of weeks ago, and this particular guru said something I found rather profound ... that 'everything has a season'. At the time this struck a chord with me, as I remembered again that the whole of life is made up of seasons, not just the weather! And as surely as Spring follows Winter, so it will be with life ... tough times, easy times, fun times, sad times, it's all part of life's tapestry.

What's this got to do with horses? Lots! When on your horsemanship journey, there will be highs and lows. Some days everything goes perfectly and exactly as we want, others we feel challenged and maybe frustrated. Some days our horse seems 'off' (are we 'off' those days too?) and others they seem calm and happy.

What I've learned is to take things in my stride ... not to beat myself up for any mistakes I might make, and don't get too complacent when things are going great!

My program of Natural Horsemanship with Heart is just as much about your personal development, as it is about your horse's development as a wonderful, willing partner for you.

Accepting the seasons of your development will build your strength, your focus and your belief in yourself, and the journey will be a lot more enjoyable!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Dirty and Loving it!

You may not think that a muddy, filthy horse is a pretty sight, but from a horse's point of view, it probably doesn't matter much!
Who hasn't moaned when they've just put their best elbow-grease forward to get their horse looking clean, and that horse has gone and rolled in the nearest muddy patch? Their horse has a good roll, really getting the mud into their mane, all over their face with as much body coverage as they can manage - then they have a quick shake and run off happily, emitting a loud fart in your direction as they run off to show their buddies how great they look!

I love to groom my horses for their (and my) pleasure. I'm probably more practically-inclined than appearance-inclined. This morning groomed 2 of the herd, as their hair was all matted from a couple of days of rain. They appeared to enjoy it, standing still without restraint, now and again indicating where they would like more scratches. End result they were much cleaner, their coat fluffed up again, and I was filthy!

Sometimes I hear from people that their horse 'doesn't like' being groomed. If this is you, ask yourself if you think you are touching your horse in a way that they find pleasurable. Every horse is a little different, and you might have to experiment with different strokes, pressure, brushes etc.

It's not just a matter of 'wham bam thank you mam' when it comes to building the relationship through touch and grooming - touching your horse is an Art. And brushing them is an extension of that Art. (My DVD Touching your Horse with Your Heart explains how to do it.)

If you have to restrain your horse to brush her, if she is trying to bite you, walk off, kick you or any other things that suggest she is not happy for whatever reason, then you owe it to both of you to see what you can do to change the situation. Firstly, it could possibly be soreness, so have your horse looked at by a Professional Equine Chiropractor or other qualified equine therapist. I liken tying up your horse to brush them to tying up your partner to kiss them!

Of course, if you are forgetting that your horse may like being dirty, and welcome a chance to get that way (at least sometimes), that could explain some fidgeting behaviour too! Remember being dirty is natural to a horse and you might be depriving them of some good clean fun by denying them this pleasure!

Friday, July 1, 2011

The Brave Society

Thing is: all this natural horsemanship 'stuff' really does make a positive difference ... to you, your horse, your life! Ask anyone who has embraced a natural approach to their horse, and they will nod their head in agreement - being natural with horses Changes Lives!

Of course, most people don't expect this to happen to them ... they get involved mainly because they think their horse needs 'fixing' or they have problems that are soaring out of control and they haven't done so well with a 'traditional' approach.

The personal development side of things (for the human) often comes as a complete surprise, and wow! when that occurs, all sorts of magic happens!

You see, being natural is a way of Being, not just a few tricks or techniques that you employ when the going gets tough or that you incorporate into other ways of thinking. (I have a favorite phrase, and that is: "You can't be a little bit natural, just like you can't be a little bit pregnant. You either are, or you aren't".

I hear a lot of people talk about trainers who 'do some natural stuff' - and what they really mean is that some techniques (and maybe some principles) have been adopted that they find work for them. While that can be a good thing, what's really important is the thinking that drives those techniques ...

It's true that it takes a certain amount of Bravery to learn to Think Like a Horse (which is the basis for natural horsemanship) - others may not like it and ridicule you - put you down and snub you. So it takes some guts to stand up for what you believe in your heart.

Being part of the Brave Society is empowering and gives you a wonderful feeling of self-worth. I mention all this because my background in (human) Personal Development and Motivation has had a huge impact on my life, back before it was quite 'fashionable' to embrace The Secret and other fantastic inspirations.

Being natural with your horse is about developing yourself, above anything else - and this is can be a challenging prospect. However, the rewards for you, your horse, and your life, can be so dramatic, it could change your life! Enter the Society of the Brave!