Friendship: a state of mutual trust and support.
Over the last several months while teaching, I’ve heard myself saying “Treat your horse as though he’s your friend.” This doesn’t come up with every horse and rider. And it doesn’t mean that people aren’t doing this to some degree; most of us have horses because we deeply care about and enjoy them. However, it is also the case that sometimes our human hardwiring takes over and we go from gentle and understanding to harsh and combative in almost the blink of an eye.
- Making our horse’s physical comfort a priority. From hooves to teeth and everything in between, we want to offer them the best we’ve got. This includes environment, food and companionship with other horses.
- Being as skilled and knowledgeable as possible in a given moment, so we can be clear and consistent in our interactions with them.
- Spending time with them without an agenda.
- Recognizing when we reach a point of anger, frustration, confusion, doubt or hopelessness while we are with our horse, then being able to stop in that moment and either put the horse away and try again another time, or pause, breathe and set that feeling aside so we can be in as joyfully neutral a place as possible.
Photos 1, 4, 5: Crissi McDonald
Photo 2: Louise Thayer
Photo 3: Dustin Tedder
Photo 6: Lindsey Tedder