A Softer Side of Horsemanship

You shouldn’t coddle your horse like that, he won’t respect you.   You need to be tough with your horse; he’s not a pet you know.  You shouldn’t kiss your horse, that’s a sign of aggression.    Does this sound familiar?  Have you heard these statements by well-meaning horse friends, barn managers and trainers alike?  It’s frustrating to hear these comments when the purpose of getting a horse was for the deep companionship you yearned for.  You may have experienced when you were a kid a carefree loving time with an older horse and you are seeking that again.  Or you’ve dreamed of owning a horse and now that the kids are grown you are ready to fulfill that dream.  But what’s the right way now, what’s the latest?  There’s so many “ways” of being with a horse and they all seem to work in one way or another, but you want to be your loving self while together with your horse in a deep trusting companionship – is it possible?

Paco and Missy 1-2012 Kiss

As someone who loves to extreme trail ride fast, bitless, and in an English saddle, I really need to have a trusting companionship with my horse, but I also want my horse to be my pet too.  I found a balance using a softer side of horsemanship that applies mutual respect and herd leadership.  Mutual respect involves courtesy.  I will not force myself on a horse, instead I will ask.  I will ask if I can rub their neck, scratch their shoulder and always ask first if I can rub their face – imagine someone walking up to you and rubbing your face with a big toothy grin, no wonder most horses shy away in that moment or go blank as they disassociate.  Herd leadership is the understanding that the horse is genetically wired to require a herd leader at all times, even in your herd of two, you and your horse.  This is as simple as he who moves the other’s feet first is in control.   It is genetic instinct for a horse to submit to the herd leader who is moving the horse’s feet whether horse or human. No gimmick or gadget is needed to control a horse’s feet as it is a simple matter of teaching a horse to back-up with just a jiggle of the lead rope.  All this takes time, but another favorite saying, the long way is the short way, has proven over and over to work.

You and your horse will meet your goals, but it’s the journey that matters.  How you get there (the journey) will determine whether your horse will be standing next to you when you fall off or will run away and keep running leaving you alone.  

My Training the Whole Horse® video series is available FREE online at my website MissyWryn.com  Watch FREE Horse Training Videos and my YouTube Channel WholisticHorseWoman (http://www.youtube.com/wholistichorsewoman).

Let me know how I can be of support to you in any way. Wishing you a Happy Valentines 🙂


About Gentle Horse Trainer Missy Wryn

Specializing in problem and dangerous horses Missy Wryn is an internationally recognized Gentle Horse Trainer and member of the Association of Professional Humane Educators. Missy's Training the Whole Horse® methods & techniques and the creation of her widely popular All-In-One Bitless Bridle have been featured in media such as Alaska Airlines Magazine, Equine Monthly, Natural Horse, NW Horse Source, Stable Management, The Horse Show with Rick Lamb, Horse Girl TV and more. For more information visit Missy Wryn’s website at MissyWryn.com or call toll free (888) 406-7689.
This entry was posted in Bitless Bridle Riding, Horse, Horse Scoop, Horse Training, horse whisperer, HorseMAREship and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to A Softer Side of Horsemanship

  1. Eden says:

    Thanks for the post. This was really helpful:) But I have a question. You said you need to ask before you rub or kiss your horse? How do you ask?

    • I simply ask using my words and reach towards my horse, but if he moves away (like his head) from my touch I’ll drop my gaze and ask if I can touch somewhere else like his shoulder. Watch your horse’s body language and he/she will tell you what they want and like. Hope this helps 🙂

  2. Dawn Campbell says:

    Love This!! Great Blog Missy!!

  3. Diana says:

    I see so many ways that I have interacted with my horses on just pure instinct that I have now learned from your expertise were actually correct, and based upon their body language. Thank you for helping me to put those “barn experts voices” out of my thoughts.

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