I discuss two important aspects of working with a horse's thought.
The first is to distinguish between when a horse looks or takes a small interest in something else versus when it mentally leaves the rider or handler and shows little interest in them. How can you tell the difference?
The second part emphasizes the need to always be certain that when you ask a horse to do something it is always accompanied by a horse's change of thought. Without a horse changing its thought it is simply going through the motions and has learned nothing of value than can be used to advance the training. Always be sure a horse changed it's thought before moving onto the next thing to ask it.
This post is really more of an explanation about the videos I have been publishing on YouTube.
Firstly, I want to thank people for their very kind comments and I am glad my efforts are being appreciated and giving people things to think about. And that’s what I want to talk about today.
I have always said I would not do videos because I have long felt that people fixate on the exercises being performed in the videos and lose sight of the principles the presenter is working hard to explain. It seems the nature of people is to grab onto a method and forget the principles behind the method. It’s a lot easier for us to copy a method than to have figure how to apply a principle using our own methods. So I have rejected the video side of teaching to avoid the risk that people will try to copy what they see me do with a horse and try to repeat it with their own horse.
But now I have succumbed to pressure, done a back flip and sold out. The only way I have managed to do that and still live with my hypocrisy is to try to focus the content of the videos on the concepts and principles that I believe are important in good horsemanship and which I try to apply in my own work and in my teaching.
Up until now, that has worked fine. But now we are getting to the stage where in order to further explain the principles that are so important to me I will be working some horses on the ground and from the saddle in several upcoming videos.
So I just have to say it. DON’T try to mimic or copy the exercises I do and apply them to your own horse. I am certain many people will watch the videos, study the method and try it on their own horse. No matter how much I say DON’T, some people will still do it. I can’t stop any of you from doing that, but I still have to say please DON’T. It gives me sleepless nights knowing that some will.
Instead, listen to what I am saying and think about the philosophy behind the methods I might use. The horses in the videos are not your horse. I am not you and you are not me. Don’t try to be like me and don’t think your horse is like the one in the clip. Chances are that if I did what I might do in the videos to one of your horses, it would turn out a bloody mess. I wouldn’t approach your horse like I would my horse and neither should you.
Think about the principles and be brave. I don’t mean be brave in the sense of not be scared of being hurt. I mean be brave in the sense of taking an idea and be brave enough to experiment. Try something you have never tried before, but using the principles of good horsemanship go boldly where you have never gone before.
The most I want to achieve from all my work, including the videos, is for people to think and be their own horse person – the only horse person you can be and the one your horse wants you to be (and that’s not a Ross Jacobs clone).
Methods don’t matter – they come and go all the time. But the right principles are solid and forever. So when watching my videos, look behind the methods at the concepts and think how your own methods can be applied to be consistent with those concepts. I am here to answer your questions and help clarify what most confuses you – in that way you are welcome to use and abuse me.
Now that I have that off my chest, I have one more video to create where I will probably do more talking than horse work, and follow that with a couple of videos working horses while explaining some important principles.
It is a common misconceptions that horses have a very short attention span. But this is not true. The ability of a horse to be attentive to something depends on the importance of that something in a horse's thoughts. People often confuse their inability to make themselves or the work important to a horse with the horse's inability to focus.
This is the first in a series of videos about a horse's thoughts and how they apply in Good Horsemanship. In this video I discuss the difference between a horse having hard thoughts and soft thoughts. This is a very important concept when it comes to working with horses because it relates to the mental and emotional calm.