Of all the goals and dreams that people have with horses, the most popular one I hear is the one of a true partnership, an extraordinary friendship.
That invisible 'connection' that warms the heart ... that feeling of oneness and synergy ... where our horse seeks us out, stays with us without the constraints of rope or yard: it's a reality for some, an elusive dream for others!
Creating that special bond begins with the human: building trust, confidence and then respect. Whenever I see human and horse looking 'disconnected', I go right back to the basics of touch, of how we stand, breathe, look at our horse. I look for that tiny little indication that we are 'engaging' our horse and retreat a little, happy with the smallest step.
It's like loyalty: you can't buy it or demand it - you Earn it. You earn your horse's love, trust, confidence and respect. You do this by thinking of how life appears to them, putting their point of view, their feelings, First.
It can be a challenge for the human to do this! In our instant world where everything is so fast paced and time-focussed, this approach is often hard, as it requires patience, a slowing down of our expectations, a perception that is beyond most people (at first).
But ... developing yourself into a human that your horse will offer their extraordinary friendship to, will reap you benefits beyond your imaginings ... the joy you will feel, the peace in your soul, and the love in your heart ... it is quite different to anything else!
It is from this friendship that extraordinary things develop: it is the foundation of Everything with your horse - and, when you think about it, it's the same with your relationships with people: it's all based on friendship first, including mutual trust and respect.
Mmmm, more of life's lessons from our horses!
Above: Horsemanship with Heart student Mia, with beaglier Disney and the sweet Sharif at a recent student demo!