Not many people think of working with horses as a way to help yourself; but in fact that is exactly what can happen. When you work to train a horse, you are working with the mind, and once you have the mind, the rest of the body follows. As you teach the horse about Man’s World (as you know it), you use your own natural mental skills. In turn, the horse will in turn put you back in touch with nature, while allowing you to find balance within yourself and be the best that you can be. The better you are, the better the horse will be.
It’s all about changing your mindset. mah full form Your job is to help your horse learn about “Man’s World. ” In order to do that, you first need to understand how to go into his world. One successful way is to change the attitude of “Do what I tell you to do” into “How can i help you? ” When people learn to become the alpha in a herd of two (the herd being made up of the horse and the person) this “How can i help you? ” mindset is at work. The lifestyle of a horse is different in his natural setting as opposed to the environment we bring him into. For example, in the herd, there is a certain pecking order where he has a number of teachers. When we bring him into our world, we need to teach him about the world he is coming into, and become “the alpha” of the herd of two.
In the round pen you simulate life. In order to establish yourself as the “alpha”, the initial work is based on four tasks: movement, direction, rhythm and track. In working with a horse, you use your body to apply pressure, the same way that you use your legs and reins when you ride. In the round pen, your body represents your reins and the pressure you put on represents your legs. In other words, pressure means something, but the horse tells you how much pressure to apply. In this situation, you practice giving up control, thereby being in control and setting the example for the horse. This is a way you can practice your riding, as well as your timing, your feel, and many other things, all without actually riding the horse. It can be the beginning of a step by step process of gaining his trust so that you can build a solid foundation. After the initial work, a systematic approach is used to test the body, first along one side, front to back, then moving to the other side, because for every horse, there are two horses, the left and the right. “We do this to test the body in order to find if we get a negative response or one of the three “F’s” (freeze, flee or fight) due to a lack of understanding. Depending on the reaction from the horse, we can tell if there are issues in that part of the body, mentally transforming “mistakes” or negatives into positives because we know which areas need work. Finally, after the ground work, when you add the saddle, bridle and rider, you have a harmonious relationship and a partner who is ready to work with you. If the initial experience is positive, a solid foundation is laid and a remarkable partnership will develop. During this process a two-fold thing is happening. You think you’re there to teach horses, but in the end, they’re teaching you about yourself.
Many times we teach horses to be dependent on us by telling them where to go and what to do; we always have something attached, whether it is a halter and lead line or bridle and reins. We take away these artificial attachments, and by using pressure, one of his natural forms of communication, ask for what you would like, allowing the horse to make choices for himself and learn about consequences if he makes the wrong choices. This allows you the opportunity to simulate life in our world and let him know what can happen to him in when he makes that mental choice. Having no attachments can be an advantage that can help you to strengthen your “mind power. ” While you are increasing your mental skills, you are building confidence in your horse and at the same time building your own self-empowerment. This also allows the horse to rely on his natural instincts and gives you the opportunity to practice life skills such as listening, timing, feel, patience, and many more. While in the round pen, one of the tools is a 35′ lariat, which can be used as an extension of your arm. This makes it possible to “reach out and touch the horse” without making it necessary to act as a predator, while also preserving your safety. Using the rope also teaches you to “give up control; ” in other words, you must “listen” to the rope in order to roll it up. This parallels listening to the horse; after all, the horse teaches us to teach him. Using the rope allows you to practice this mindset. The first step is to change your way of thinking. If your attitude truly is “How can i help you? ” your focus will be on “listening” to what the horse is telling you to do to accomplish your picture. This takes the pressure off of you and allows you to be “in the zone. ” You have a picture and the horse tells you what to do to create the picture. The more you improve the horse’s knowledge, the easier your task will be. This type of work can help a trainer who is already working with a rider to improve in a particular discipline. can benefit horses and riders in all disciplines.
While doing this work, there are five rules. Rule #1: There are no rules. Rule #2: Your safety. Rule #3: The safety of the horse. Rule #4: Conservation. Rule #5: See rule #1. While following these rules, participants often see that the situations that occur in the round pen often parallel or “mirror” situations that occur in their lives. In working to help the horse, you can also work on changing negative habits that you have acquired and work toward self-improvement. In fact, although this work is used for horse owners and trainers, it can be used to improve relationship skills for couples or families. For example, in working with the horse, children can learn parenting skills by setting boundaries for their horse. For a career professional, as you learn to be committed to helping the horse stay on track in the round pen, you can envision the parallels to being committed to staying on track in your career. Round pen work can even be used in addition to traditional therapy methods. A local therapist has seen positive results with her clients. “(This work) brought each individual’s patterns and feelings to the surface as they attempted to have the horse complete the task they were given or the task they gave themselves. In each instance, the horse became the mirror for where they were, where they were stuck, or what they were feeling. As a therapist, it is important to me that the client discovers his or her own “monsters. ” The issues became glaringly apparent to the client who is working with the horse in the round pen and, in this case, to the family members observing the process. ” The work can also benefit business/corporate and school groups with the emphasis on self esteem and teambuilding. Urica Pope, Program Coordinator for the Creative Services Department of South carolina ETV, worked in 2004 with Anderson and groups of young girls participating in a gender equity program. “There is a valuable lesson to be learned from it, ” said Pope. “We chose this program because it deals with leadership. We want the girls to work together and with the horse as a team-building program. ” For Bobbi Kennedy, vice president for continuing education at S. C. ETV, the goal is teaching young girls that they can “take on a complex topic and master it. ” Kennedy said that the girls don’t just learn for themselves but learn how to work as a team, a concept that is a constant theme in the program. In workshops with Anderson using two horses, the girls also covered topics such as anger management, self confidence and how to say “no. ”
The nice thing about this work is that it allows you to be the best that you can be. If you come to the round pen and do something that you are afraid to do, and do it well, you will build your self esteem. With horses as a representative of nature, in working with them, people are getting back in touch with the environment through the horse, thereby finding balance in both worlds, “Man’s World” and “Nature’s World. ” Give a man a fish, feed him for the day; teach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime: but you’ve got to let him get to the pond. If we stay on the path that we’re on, there quite possibly may be no fish left in the pond. Horses are helping humans find balance in their lives, thereby showing that once again, as they did in the past, horses can play a vital role in our society.