It’s not about the techniques, it´s about the response and the softness. When I train a horse, I use different techniques depending of the response from the horse – but it’s always the same philosophy. My aim is not to just move the body of the horse. It’s to influence his mind and emotions so his body will be soft and his mind willing. Basically it’s about pressure and release, energy and timing.
Most of the people asking me for help describes different isolated situations as problematic. But, the described problem is never really the actual problem – it’s only a symptom. It doesn’t matter if it’s a riding, loading or shoeing problem – it’s all the same: lack of foundation.
Imagine a scale from one to ten grading the pressure we can expose to the horse. At the beginning of the scale you can find things that we define as easy, such as moving forward or backward. Really difficult things, like traveling in a horse trailer, or staying soft and alert even if the environment is crowded and noisy, is accordingly placed at the top of the scale. Obviously, you can’t start with the tenth step without having established the nine steps before.
After 25 years of working with horses, and people, I came to the conclusion that I have never met a horse with a problem. However, I have met a lot of people who would like to have a different relationship with their horse. So, obviously – you are the one having to change your behavior to make it possible for the horse to change his!
Every time when I come in contact with a new horse I create a new society. That society has 3 parts:
- The basic ground rules
- Consequence and reward
A society need basic ground rules, common to and accepted by the individuals within the society. It also need a language that everybody understands.
In a human – horse society, you have to decide the rules, teach them to your horse and consequently practice them while handling your horse at all times.
Like every good relationship, both parties need and want to understand what the ground rules are to feel safe and secure. And, again, since the horse have no ambition to be human, you are the one having to change your behavior and give the horse a chance to change his. Therefore, the process will include a lot of new ways of acting for both you and your horse. My job is to provide you the keys to your new language and train your ability to find the timing and regulate the level of energy.
As your relationship grows stronger and your respect for each other is mutual, you can start to add more of the third element of the society – emotion. My ambition is always to create a win-win situation. Basically, that means that you must get something positive out of the relationship and the horse must get something that he wants. You can’t expect the horse to respect you, you have got to earn it.
So – the question you must ask yourself, and answer honestly, is… Am I willing to do whatever it takes to create my perfect picture of how I want our relationship to look?
If you are, then I can 100% point you in the right direction to achieve your wildest dreams together with your horse!
– John Ricketts