Horses.  There are some of us who work with horses because it feeds our souls. Often joking that it’s a disease or addiction because we can not help ourselves when it comes to their proper care, it’s an insatiable quest.  It’s a HUGE responsibility in finding the right balance of their mental and physical state of well being and that’s why it takes more than one lifetime to truly understand horses.

After entering my 4th decade with horses, I feel there are values to share that have proven their worth.  This lifestyle of training horse and instructing is a philosophical journey which transcends to many parts of life.  As with the 3 C’s it works with horses and humans.

C number 1

Cooperation, the process of working together to attain the same goal.  Many times I’ve heard that people fear horses because they have their own motivation and they would rather have horsepower in a mechanical and predictable way.  These folks rather feed gasoline than hay.  Those of us who love the challenge and beauty of working with the original horsepower  understand the joy of connecting with horses, loving those light bulb moments and glimmers of greatness.  Feeling the hard work paying off, “Wow I got what I asked for!”  Cooperation is grand!

C number 2

Clarity, when something is easy to see or hear and/or sharpness of an image.  This concept must start in the human mind.  Often we don’t recognize what we are asing for and the message becomes quite murky to the horse,  You must see the leg yield in your mind before you ask for it and then recognize its execution.  Often riders micromanage and for the horses it’s an immutable dialect.  It’s paramount that aids are clear, we ask for something and then give the horse the space to respond to our request.  You know that conversation where you can’t get a word in and you are just waiting for a pause so you can say something?  Now imagine that conversation between  different species.  Clarity is key!

C number 3

Consistency, a steadfast adherence to the same principles, agreement and harmony.  As riders we need to be consistent in how we ask for things whether we are on their backs or on the ground.  Aids need consistency and  the boundaries we establish with horses needs to be consistent.  The proof that your riding/training is working is being able to recreate a desired response and with a lighter aid is a great goal.  Remember, it is human that knows the goal, however the accomplishments are judged by the horse’s performance.  The least we can do is be consistent when working with our 4 legged friends which makes us dependable partners.  Consistency is critical.

Riding horses well is difficult, but riding them poorly is unfortunately common and easier with the horses regrettably paying the price.  In caring for our horses we care for ourselves, a pledge we should all uphold and honor.  Horses have made me a better human not only to their needs but to the needs of my fellow humankind.  Our world could be a bit sweeter if we valued the lessons of cooperation, clarity and consistency.