With horses it isn’t always the big things that make a difference but often-times it is the little habits that we become particular about that make all the difference.
Here is a short list of some of the little habits that might help make a difference to the relationship you have with your own horse.
- Do you have permission to touch your horse? Seems like a little thing, well maybe it is maybe it isn’t! When you first meet with them for the day do you offer your hand in the horseman’s handshake? Or do you just go straight in there and give them a pat, or a stroke on the forehead, or a big hug? Well perhaps take a little time to be sure you have permission to do those things. There is a separate blog all about the Horseman’s Handshake and you can find details of it here; http://www.elainecoxon-blog.com/horsemans-handshake/
- Do you have permission to enter your horse’s stable? Most of us lead busy lives and we are often in a hurry to get the chores done, skipping out the stable, putting up the hay-net, refilling the water bucket…. but do we just barge in to the stable or do we have permission to enter? Does your horse acknowledge you coming, or does your horse go to the back of the stable? Take your time. Stop, wait for a response, an acknowledgement. You might be surprised that it takes a while for your horse to offer that invitation the first times you ask – but take the time it takes and in the future it will take less time. If you think it means nothing to the horse then perhaps have a little think about this. Imagine you are sat in your lounge, reading the paper and relaxing and I come straight into your home – I walk up the stairs and I go to your knicker drawer which I know is on the left hand side of your chest of drawers. I take out all your underwear and I neatly put it all into piles of the same colour and carefully fold them for you. I then walk down to your lounge and suggest we go out for a walk with the dogs. How do you feel? Are you comfortable with that? If you feel uneasy, even cross – then my response could be, well I was doing something for you …… just as we are doing something for our horses when we refill the hay-net! Interesting to think about. So if you don’t ask permission, perhaps get into the habit of waiting and seeing what your horse thinks – and let me know how the relationship changes!
- What are your habits when you take your horse back to the field? Do you leave your horse or does your horse leave you? Do you un-halter them at the gate and watch them as they run back to their friends at the far side of the field? Perhaps this is a habit that would be worth changing? If you know they will be mighty glad to get back to the herd, then take them there, un-halter at the herd and then walk away from them. Yes it might take a little extra time, but build that into your day – again you will reap the rewards. Everything means something to the horse…. always remember that. Are you encouraging them to be with you because you always have the greatest of ideas…..or are they glad to go as soon as they are un-haltered or all the treats have been eaten? Sometimes something as small as this can make the difference between whether your horse wants to catch you – or not be caught at all! Everything means something!
So there are my first 3 suggestions at looking at the little things that make a difference…..I will be creating a new blog soon with some more suggestions on how to take care of some of the little things that mean a lot!