|Mecury and I are the final word for us.|
Who hasn’t been given conflicting advice in the horse world? Horse people are some of the most opinionated people. How do we know how to decipher what is right and wrong?
Well instead of looking at right and wrong let’s call it different schools of thought or just plain schools. As a student of Horses and Horsemanship, I have made it my business to study as many approaches to horsemanship that I can and still do. My daily education and still most important teachers are the horses I work with. I learn from them everyday and I literally learn new things from herd observation and dynamics all the time.
I continually upgrade my knowledge because I feel that you can never know everything and there is always someone who knows more than you to study with. That said, as I found my own voice, I knew that certain schools of horsemanship and training were in line with my vision and goals and some weren’t at all. As my vision on what I wanted for me and my horses became clearer, it was easy to see what approaches resonated and could be integrated into my existing way and make it better and more progressive.
Some criteria I use to determine whether to follow a school of thought or way of working is first I put myself in the horses place. I ask myself “would I like to be treated this way if I was in the horses place” if the answer is no. That’s an easy one. Another interesting way of looking at an approach as I tell my students is, look at the whole method without judgement. Try to see what the exercises are trying to accomplish and what the desired goal is. Simply learn what the school is about. Then, if you are seeing some exercises and ideas that you can relate too but are not exactly to your liking, see if you can modify them to suit your style or your horses character. I often watch people work and get an idea and then adapt it to what I would like to do and how I like to work.
I don’t discount a whole system of training because I don’t agree with it. I see if there is anything I can learn and use with some “tweaking” to make it fit in with my approach.
For example by studying Dressage and merging Natural Horsemanship with Liberty, I was able to create a style that made each school complementary instead of contradictory as some would say.
Another important consideration is you and your horses’ character and personality. People are drawn to ways of being with horses that match their personality. What resonates with one person may be absolutely horrible to another. Does that make them wrong or just different? Wrong for you, Right for them. Right for you, wrong for them. The bottom line is, are they happy and are they and their horse enjoying whatever they are doing. So are you and your horse happy? Then you are using the right approach!
Even in horse care there is much conflict of opinion. I always say for any 10 experts that say a food or supplement is good for your horse, I can find 10 that will say it will be detrimental or worse for your horse! So I listen to what feels right to me and then I ask my horse if he thinks it’s right. Zoopharmacognosy has allowed me that option now. I also observe my horses habits. When horses are free to choose food and shelter and herd mates, you see a lot of what they really want and not what a bunch of human experts say is “right”. Getting different opinions is a good idea when faced with difficult decisions and then go with what feels like the right path whatever it may be. Oats for thought…
We still have openings to see Fiona Habershon when she is here the end of August and the beginning of September. Contact me if you would like an appointment with her.
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9/31-10/2 FDH Horsemanship Clinic: Plainfield, MA
11/30-12/2 FDH clinic in New Zealand: at Taralee stables, Carterton, NZ
11/22-11/24- FDH Clinic in Australia Strath Creek, Victoria, Australia
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