Good teachers can connect with their students and grasp the struggles the students face in learning. Good horse trainers do the same thing and understand the problems horses encounter during the training process. Without the capacity to see issues from the view point of the student or the horse, the training is not effective.
Take a bridle and bit for instance, do you really recognize how it works and the confusing messages that can be sent to a horse. Judging from the blog posts we see and the comments we hear, not many people appreciate the torture a horse endures at the hands of an inexperienced “trainer”. Bits inflict pressure and/or pain depending on the type and the manner used. If you don’t know how to properly use them, when to use them, and the type to use, you have no business trying to train a horse with them.
Try this simple test and see if it helps you better understand bits from a horse’s perspective. Using a small, light weight chain, put it around both of the wrists of your spouse leaving about 14 inches between the wrists so the arms can move. You can tie the loops with a small piece of wire so it won’t fall off either wrist. Make sure you have about six feet remaining connected to the chain you just attached to the wrists. Use only the end of the chain to request what you want. Stop all verbal communications. Just like the horse, pretend you don’t understand English. For the next four hours, any action the trainer “you” wants to do; get a drink, perform a household chore such as loading the dishwasher, mowing the yard, or whatever can only be done with your spouse performing the task. The only means of communication to explain what you want is the chain. No speech, no facial expressions, and no gestures. All you the “trainer” can do is pull, twist, jerk, or move the chain. The only thing 99% of you will be able to accomplish is a divorce! And this is with the person who knows you better than anyone and understands your needs.
Now put yourself in the shoes of the “dumb” horse who has no clue what his “trainer” wants to accomplish as he sets there yanking on the reins. The bit in the horse’s mouth doesn’t feel any more comfortable than the small, lightweight chain around the wrists. The horse has to learn what the trainer wants from a few words in a language the horse doesn’t speak, the bit in the mouth, and leg pressure applied at various times as body weight is shifted. And people expect in 60 -90 days, a horse should be fully trained and ready to go.
If you can’t think like and understand a horse, you really have no business trying to train one. Despite the desire to say you “train” horses, the truth is you only confuse them. We recognize anyone “can train horses”. It doesn’t require a license or formal education. Any wanna be horse trainer can learn it on the job, reading books, and watching videos. Better yet, they can attend a weekend long clinic hosted by a horse whisper or famous clinician. Do the poor horse a favor when you get back from the clinic, see if you can pass the test with your spouse before you go to work on the horse.
Funny, our society won’t even let people trim the ends of your hair without passing a test. But, no worries, if you can’t pass the test, you can always yank on the bit and call yourself a horse trainer. This post probably sounds a bit rude and impolite. We don’t mean to sound unfriendly, but we would like folks to see things from a different perspective, that of the horse.
One more thing, before you take our test, make sure you have the name of a good divorce lawyer. The horse may have to put up with you, but your spouse doesn’t.