Sunday, July 22, 2012

In a recent interview regarding issues in the gaited horse industry  I was asked many questions and many more transpired through the interview. There were a few that were easy to answer at the time but created great depth in thought after.I came away very troubled by it as well.  
I thought I would share some of them :

1st Question :Can a trainer of the gaited horse be too sound ?
Answer: To the people yes, for the horses no.

2nd question: So your saying  trainers of horses outside the padded industry can be to sound or natural for the general gaited horse public?
Answer: To the people yes, for the horses no. 

3rd question: Why? 
Answer: For some people yes due to what people are.  People are often motivated to feed their own emotional needs, financial needs, needs of power, control and the desires to fit in with other groups of people. Those types of people will seek out  those that will enable and support them in their fantasy of what developing natural gait is rather than what it really is. Some people just think it takes to long and to much work so shortcuts suit those individuals better. Those that do utilize short cuts or gimmicks in training often don't want an unsuspecting  clients (often beginners) to get educated.  They fear  loss of clients or are trying to bring clients and dollars to their  business so they very artfully regurgitate all the right terminology but enact  some or completely different methods in the practical application of training. 
For the horse no, when we teach a horse in a manner that it feels good physically, emotionally and reasonable to the horse, the horse lets us know in giving us what we ask the best  they can, within their understanding. The horse then can have the best chance of staying physically and emotionally sound. The horse through this, wants to be with us and work for us, they care what we think because we cared what they think and how they feel. By my definition that's as it should be for a horse and what most people voice what they want of and for their horses. 

4th  question: Do you feel it is true in some of the population, they believe they are sound and naturally gaited teachers of horse when they are in fact not.
Answer:  There are some that are in reality, some do in their self created fantasy yet are not ,and others use it as a marketing tool  purposely to deceive the public to keep their business open. 

5th Question: So in your opinion how does one go about bring people to understanding what a naturally gaited horse is and apply those methods in training their horses.
Answer: Education! The education is out there for those that want to learn it , it's the "want to" though that has to come first, and honesty in themselves when they are doing right by the horse.

6th question: I have heard in some circles you are respected for your reputation of straightforwardness and honesty  when it comes to whats right for the horse and in others your criticized for this. How do you feel about that?
Answer: I care what the horse thinks first, I try to teach folks this all the time. In who I am, to be any other way I could not  keep doing this as a business and as my livelihood,  it's whats right for me to live with myself, to look into a horses eyes  with honesty and receive their trust back.Teaching horses and people is my business, it's what my job is, I feel it's my responsibly to be this way when they come to me to learn, it's what I'm being paid  to do. My job in my opinion is not to play games and tell someone what they want to hear instead of what they need to hear.How a person receives  the straightforwardness and honesty when my opinion is asked  can be interpreted , defined or redefined in many different way depending on the emotional place that person is at that time. 
Sometimes being as diplomatic as possible is never enough for some folks, they just don't have the "want to get it" yet, they are still to much "of themselves" first. One just still keeps trying though for awhile and sometimes  just has to stop and let some people go or you will bleed your self dry in the frustration and have nothing left for the next person that really wants to get it right for their horse..

So in closing: 
A conversation I was reminded of recently  from this interview was with a naturally  gaited horse friend not to long ago. in which he expressed his frustration and stated, "Being  naturally gaited sure is a lonely place" .
My response back was " No, you will always have friends in horses".