Answers to Favourite Questions
If you have all the answers, why aren't you demonstrating your horsemanship as a showman and earning lots of money from so doing?
Strangely my most powerful realisations don’t lend themselves to dramatic displays of horsemanship, because they rely on horses reflecting about how they should react to humanity over time. Watching someone stimulating a horse in such a way, is so transient that such a demonstration would be over very quickly, and the proof that it worked will often be some days away. Even the primary reaction is so transient that the slightest try is so easily missed by most people, even when they are sitting on the horse.
Certainly it would not be considered very entertaining or believable if I leapt off and declared it had happened, then asking the audience to come back a week later to see the improvement! Most equine showman will probably be aware anyway of what I’m explaining here, and as they know that its use in demonstrations is unusable; it is of no interest to them. Once I have explained the logic “of the slightest try” to students whose horses you may only see once a week, its use can soon demonstrate dramatic improvements.
Can you use passive horsemanship to start horses?
Prevention is always better than any cure, so I believe that when starting horses use of the ‘slightest try’ is more affective than at any other time of a horse’s life. This is because at this point it is a case of teaching horses how to learn. From the time a horse is born right up until he is big enough to be ridden is absolutely the best time to prepare them for life. The beauty is that this phase happens so quickly that they’ll never realise anything has happened.
Sadly however, working horses in hand is something that many people are not interested in perfecting with an instructor although it’s truthfully the most important thing to get right. Being clever enough to see a colt allow someone to put their hand on its back and then have the confidence to know it was a good lesson is simply the most important knowledge to acquire for any aspiring horseman. This is because the hand was only taken away when the colt was relaxed and can then be sent off happily with time to think about it. When the horse is finally ‘backed’, the biggest lesson I can impart is strangely to get off it again, just as soon as the horse accepts the situation passively.
What is the biggest mistake people make with young horses?
They get greedy. Just because the animal let someone sit on him, doesn’t mean they can school him for an hour. Rather, it just means that the horse will allow them to do it unconcernedly again next week. He will tell you when it’s time to do something else.