Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays’ take on things and experiences

Horse Sense

with 9 comments

I have been reviewing a wonderful book we received as a gift from our friends, the Morales’ in Guatemala, which describes exercises for ground training our horses. It is serving as a good refresher for me about being aware of my movements and demeanor when I am with the horses. I know to do this, but I’ve become complacent about doing so regularly and with conscious intent.

By habit, I still find myself saying that I have no horse experience, but recently Cyndie pointed out that this is no longer accurate. I now have over a year of experience. I tend to overlook that because most of what I have come to know has been gained through simply standing among the herd, feeding them, or cleaning up after them. I have had very little formal training.

So far, my intuition has served me well. The horses came to us already trained and well-mannered, so there wasn’t a need for us to do a lot of work. Primarily, we have endeavored to get them familiar and comfortable here in their new home, and with us as their handlers. My simple routines of caring for the horses seem to be working well for both them and me.

Be aware of your bearing

Your bearing, your overall manner and conduct, is a blend of your attitude and your physical carriage. Your demeanor is what makes you brighten up a room when you walk in or causes people to turn away from you. So it is with horses.

You carry a certain amount and type of light with you wherever you go, and when you approach a horse, that light can be repelling or attracting. Your bearing is the air about you, your outlook, your manner. With it, you might fool some people on occasion, but you never fool a horse.

101 Ground Training Exercises for Every Horse and Handler by Cherry Hill

Our herd leader, Legacy, is the one horse who I have a suspicion is inclined to test my level of knowledge. I don’t think I always catch it, but something told me to assert my authority when he, and eventually the others, would take bites of hay off the bale I was bringing into the paddock in a wheelbarrow.DSCN2681e I started bringing a boundary aid with me and have established that no one gets any bites while it is in my wheelbarrow.

They still tend to test whether that was a temporary rule or not, but it is easy to let them know my policy still stands. They clearly grasp the concept.

Something else about Legacy: he continues to wear his blanket a little askew. I think he knows it bugs me, and he won’t let me fix it. Maybe it’s one small way he can pretend I’m not the boss of him. I’ll give him that one.












Written by johnwhays

January 14, 2015 at 7:00 am

9 Responses

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  1. Just thinking with regard to ‘Your demeanor is what makes you brighten up a room’ and was reminded of Cyndie – such a super lady!

    Ian Rowcliffe

    January 17, 2015 at 5:16 am

  2. I checked out the book. It is very good. By the way, a good source of clearly explained answers to ‘problems’ can be found on Franklin Levinson’s website –

    Ian Rowcliffe

    January 17, 2015 at 5:13 am

  3. Love this post… And your picture makes me laugh:)


    January 14, 2015 at 9:37 pm

    • Thank you! Legacy really deserves all the credit for that picture. I was intending to take a picture of him from the front, but that is the only view he was offering at the time. Speaks volumes, doesn’t it.


      January 14, 2015 at 9:47 pm

      • Sure does!! He got you on this picture too, lol!!


        January 14, 2015 at 10:08 pm

  4. I love that photo of him mocking you, as if he KNOWS you will write about this!!!!
    (He wins! and it’s so adorable)


    January 14, 2015 at 9:21 am

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