Back in the Old Days....
Yep. I used to be a traditional trainer.
I used to chase a horse until it "relaxed" thinking I was doing it a favor. I believed I was helping it work through it's tensions and anxieties. I used to aggressively back a horse up that spooked or came at me to teach that horse that behavior was unacceptable. I admit I acted out of anger (you're not going to get away with that!!) too. I also kicked horses that kicked at me. They do it to each other, right??? That's exactly what I believed - what I learned from every horse person I had ever met.
I Got Results
These methods "work" in the sense that teaching a horse that unpleasant circumstances follow "bad" behavior may reduce the possibility of that behavior occurring again. However, they also cause pain, distress, and fear. They do nothing for the relationship we all want to have with this magnificent species. They also fail, miserably, to teach the horse the behavior you WANT him to do.
Times Have Changed...
Now I know better. Now I understand how much physical and emotional damage was being done. I have educated myself about equine emotions, neurological responses, physiology, and how mechanics affect the musculoskeletal system. I understand how easy it is to harm - how we can affect our horse's life experience for the better and worse.
Now what's important to me is to make every horse's life better. I want them to be happy, healthy, and comfortable - the best possible versions of themselves. I want to restore health to those who have had it taken away, those whose body's have been broken, hearts damaged, trust lost.
The Tools and Benefits of Compassionate Welfare-Centered Horse Training
I have a successful and incredibly gratifying career now because everything I do is for the benefit of the horse. I practice and teach horses relaxation, healthy carriage and posture. I use clear, compassionate, non-compulsory communication, and I ensure each horse has their needs for comfort, balance, diet, socialization, enrichment, and movement met. I believe, more accurately I know, that the most successful relationship we can have with our horses begins with giving them what they need and treating them with the respect and understanding they deserve.
I see life as a gift. Understanding how much power we have over or horse's lives and doing the best we can, is a gift we can give to our horses that will come back to us 1,000 times over. I believe we all deserve to experience it in the best possible way. We all deserve to live with joy in our hearts.