Some horse carers have an incredibly close connection to their horses that it seems almost telepathic. Their horses are able to respond so well to their cues that it seems like the horses are reading their minds. This phenomenon is actually common among horses themselves. They have no voice to communicate with each other, but can communicate effectively anyway. Using animal communication is using telepathy to communicate with the horse.
For instance, fear is something that spreads very easily in a group of horses. This characteristic evolved for the sole purpose of improving their survival in the wild where raising an alarm on a threat is crucial to the safety of the herd. This characteristic is something that natural horsemanship practitioners have learned to make use of in horse training.
Natural horsemanship is concerned with training horses based on their natural behaviour in the wild. At the heart of this horse training approach is the desire to learn how to communicate with the horses using their bodies, feelings, instincts. It is said that honesty is a fundamental characteristic of animal communication since their primary mode for communication is their body language.
Humans, on the other hand, have learned to hide about their real thoughts and feelings, which are at times contradicting their body language. To communicate with horses effectively, carers must learn how to be honest with themselves so that their body language could honestly impart what they mean it to. The horse senses the human’s feelings and “thoughts” in an intrinsic way. When the person’s body language does not align with their feelings and thoughts, the horse sense this as a warning.
Horses are prey animals, and as such, their primary concern is about safety. Any situation, person, other animal or object that may appear as a threat to a horse will trigger a flight action. It does not suffice that you know an object is not a threat. You need to convince your horse it is the truth. What seems absolutely harmless to us may appear horribly dangerous to a horse for reasons that are his. It is his reality, not yours. Animal communication coupled with natural horsemanship give you some fantastic tools to understand and work with your horse. By applying these methods you will be able to prove to your horse that you are a trustworthy leader.
Another principle of natural horsemanship is placing the horse’s feelings and preferences into consideration. This involves putting yourself in the horse’s place and thinking about how it looks like from their point of view. If you want to get the horse to do anything, such as walk to a specific place, here are some questions to ask:
* Where exactly do you want the horse to go?
* What will make the horse go where you want?
* How do I relay this instruction to the horse?
* How will I respond if the horse does what I asked?
* How will I respond if the horse does not do as I asked?
* How do I apply positive and negative reinforcement so the behaviour is strengthened?
* Does the horse understand what I am asking him to do?
* Am I giving clear enough explanation/messages so the horse understand me?
Now consider these questions from the point of view of the horse:
* What is my human trying to tell me?
* Where exactly does my human want me to go?
* Why does he want me to go there?
* Why should I do what he wants?
* Do I respect him enough to follow his orders?
* Do I trust him enough to follow him?
* What will he do if I don’t do what he wants?
* What will I get if I do what he wants?
* Is it safe for me to do what he wants?
* Is it safe for me to go there?
Your answers to these questions will help you think like your horse. The more specific your answers are, the more specific you can be about the steps to take during training. Natural horsemanship requires a thoughtful and considerate approach to horse training, one that is based on a sympathetic understanding of a horse’s needs, wants and preferences and open communication between human and horse.