Leadership is a word that is used extensively in Horsemanship. Other words that are not as nice sounding are Alpha, Dominant, Boss and other less refined statements. “Show ’em whose boss!” As I have more and more amazing experiences with horses and their people, I find I don’t use the word Leadership much anymore. I use words like Connection, Friendship and Family.
Even though I enjoy complex higher level training with my Equine partners, I have less and less use for this term in my world. It doesn’t mean I allow horses to walk over me or my students. It means that if I want to pursue a more equal collaboration with my horses, I have to see them as equals. When we have a balanced healthy relationship with any being, It is because we have deep caring (if not love), trust, respect, and healthy boundaries for and with each other. If I meet a new horse or with my own horses, It is up to me and my horse to shape our relationship from the beginning and on a daily basis. It is like any other relationship. Ever evolving and growing. The first thing my horses and I have to do is teach each other how to make each feel safe and trust each other. From there on it is exploration of each other and our journey together.
Once we define what our relationship is with any horse, we are free to explore whatever and wherever that relationship takes us. Whether it is just enjoying each others company, doing activities together or performance training. My role with any being and their role with me is always changing, Family, Friends, Nurturers, Healers, Partners, colleagues, Teachers, and yes occasionally my horse leads me someplace or I lead him someplace. But mostly, I hope we explore our journey as equals. When I help people with their horses, the first questions I ask myself is are they safe together? The second question I ask is are they in a balanced healthy relationship? Is the person overriding the relationship or is the horse? I ask you, what are you and your horses roles with each other and do you feel your relationship is balanced?
This weekend is the Connection building at Liberty Class (we provide a horse for the class) at Ohana Farm Saturday 8:30-5pm with an option to bring your own horse to work one on one on Sunday. The clinic is full but there is still Auditing spaces. Register Here