Within the last days I realised that Sharon Wilsie s ‘ Horse Speak’ is the most important book about horses which has ever been written – at least for me!
Not one other book, let it be about teaching, equipment, circus lessons, hooves, feeding, keeping, or even the biomechanics carry this special importance.
Picture this – you are gong to South Africa or Greenland, not reallly important where you go – not on a holiday but to work and to live there, built a new existance – there surely is one thing you would do first: learn the language.
But you would always be tense – as long as you would not speak and understand well and as long as you wouldn t be sure about the reactions of your fellow people.
As long as confidence is missing –
and than – if you are lucky enough to meet someone from your homeland – speaking your language and having the same background and social behaviours – someone who acts similar to yourself – you happily catch your breath and stick to them!
Not different in horses!
The knowledge behind all this hands us the key to communicate – to speak with horses in their own language – about matters important to them!
I will now try to tell you my most important reason – why I consider Sharon s book the most important onset ever.
Teaching riding lessons for years now and therefore I got to know many stables, many horses, many humans – and I do see a lot.
For me, the main cause for many horses to suffer from, day in and day out, years on end and all over the world is – FEAR.
( brilli shortly frozen because he has seen the photographer)
They are afraid of something, someone, a situation – they act – and this leads the humans to be afraid of their horses and their reactions.
Fear seeds fear – this in turn leads to brutal sanctions – the use of sheer force, pain, to roll them in (Rollkur), the use of auxiliary reins, tie the mouth ( mouth closer), the use of spurs, harsh bits and snaffles – and to tire them with hard work, or lunging.
While body language in both individuals show a maximum of fear and stress.
Humans stand next to / or sit on tinderboxes ( or powder kegs) – not really nice – the horse itself is not feeling any better, it has a creature, a human being, next to itself, or worse, on its back, well realising this being is unable to see or feel the fear or the cause for the anxiety- therefore not being able to react, protect and lead.
A being not knowing how to take the fear away – and often enough punishes the horse for its fears.How can a depandant ( the horse, in that case) rely and build up trust?
This human is to lead?To protect?No, not ever!!
You wouldn t follow either.
This surely is no exaggeration and it is not only a point applying for the well known senstitivity of the Spanish breeds –
one can see this in all breeds – the well known Icelandic Horse being no exception.
There are people who love their horses but are also very much afraid of them – even while doing ground work or just grooming – let them just get excited and dance and snore!
There are owners of warmbloods ( in English ths translates crossbreed, which is something different) rather encounter problems on horse back – indoor arena of course.
Because they fear their horse more while standing next to it.
( a former training horse, i could have helped her so much more with my horse speak knowledge )
Typical situations are –
THE corner in the indoor arena, noises, wind outside, change of stable, arena, but also things not done on a regular basis on a normal day routine.
All this comes up to a sad story and often ends with these sanctions mentioned above.
Sometimes the horses are put into a Round Pen and are chased until they give in – using FEAR – in the ways of the so called Natural Horsemanship – not a bit better, or??
I AM FASCINATED ABOUT THE POSSIBILTY TO EASILY SETTLE ISSUES WITH A HORSE SO IT CAN BE HAPPY AND RELAXED IN ITS RELATIONSHIP WITH ITS HUMAN – WITHOUT EVEN MOVING IT OR CHASING IT – EVEN WITHOUT FEEDING IT TREATS OR THE USE OF A STICK OR A RIDING CROP:
horse speak in my opinion, should be the foundation of any kind of togetherness and work with horses. Equestrians, especially those going to competitions,should concern horse speak as a relaxed and trustful horse will work better, learn easier- even will build up muscles more conveniently
Horse speak is t h e basis for sensitive riding!