Past or present?


Do you live in the past or the present with your horse? Does your horse live in the past or the present with you? This is a topic I think about quite often. When I am working with young horses that have not had much handling, it is like working with a blank canvas. This is one reason why I love working with mustangs.

Mustangs will usually have limited or no handling experience with humans. They may recognize humans as something unfamiliar but should not have any “past” handling knowledge. Working with domesticated horses is a different story. Some from birth are handled daily which starts their relationship with humans.

When colts or grown horses come to me in training I often hear statements like ” be careful he doesn’t like to be bridled, or he doesn’t like to be brushed a certain way” and so on. Are these owners living in the past? I believe they are. As a trainer, I want to approach and treat all my horses in the same way. I may need to make adjustments for their individual personalities but for the most part it’s the same. If I handle them with the knowledge that they don’t like something in particular then I am living in the past. My experience is that horses live in the “now”. Certain situations can bring back past emotion ( I use the word emotion carefully) but it is my job as trainer, to not dwell on the past, but help them be completely confident in the now.

I challenge any of you as you work with your horse in the next few days, to try and not live in the past , but treat each day as a “new ” day and live in the now.

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