In corresponding with folks from many places I write back so many of my thoughts and ideas and so tonight I thought I'd share some of them. Maybe they can be of some help to you or someone you know working with their own horses.
1. I desire an acclimated horse , not a desensitized horse.
2. I desire a willing horse, not a submissive horse.
3. Humans create holes in horses training.
4. Strive for an engaged mind in a horse, not a disconnected mind.
5. Any mechanical direction or instruction that is ever given to someone on how to do anything with a horse, is worthless in complete and total success if the horses mind and emotions are not in the right place. Willingness, softness,with clarity must be present for them to give you their body fully and correctly by the mechanical aids we utilize. This being not only the tools of head gear, etc. but of our own body, that most important tool.
6. We create the emotional teaching environment for the horse and should take great responsibility for that, to many people put that on the horse as their job.
The above photos are old ones when Bubba and I were both much younger.
These were taken at Marriott Ranch in Hume, VA back before team penning had really taken off nationally. I enjoyed the sport before it changed. At that time it was more used in that area by the professional reiner's and cutters as a way to keep their horses tuned up. I watched some awesome horses and riders too.
I had to teach Bubba how to work a cow , it did not come naturally as it did with my quarter horses, and learn he did . He enjoyed it and always competed bit less when team penning. He still gets excited and willing to go when he gets around cattle but I no longer let him work them, as his mind says he can but his body should not.
When I think about all the things we have done together I realized long ago horses don't know what trophies or ribbons are, prize money, mileage patch's, power or cultural acceptance among other humans. None of the things humans seek out so often in owning and/or riding horses. What the horses do know is what is the emotion we put off by the experience when we are seeking such meaningless things to them. They can either enjoy the tasks, resent , resist, fear, want to get it over with, or become numb. We hold the key to how they feel about what we ask. My hope is that more horses enjoy their experience rather than the other options.