If your horse expresses displeasure when being groomed, tacked up or blanketed, how do you respond? Do you correct your horse with a verbal "Hey, knock it off!"? Or do you administer a slap?
Or do you reassess what you're doing and (gasp!) actually LISTEN to your horse?
This episode explores common situations that equestrians encounter with their horses. Horses that wave a hind leg, pin their ears, gnash their teeth or bite when being blanketed, groomed or tacked up.
We explore various ways you can respond to these scenarios. You'll learn how responding with physical corrections or even threats can shut down communication and damage your relationship with your horse. Plus, it doesn't feel good to either of you!
You'll learn safe, intelligent and KIND responses that can leave both you and your horse feeling good. You'll hear how choosing to respond with kindness and cooperation refines your communication and builds trust in each other.
After all, you love your horse. Your horse is your partner, your friend. Let your actions - and your relationship - reflect that.
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Blog posts mentioned in the podcast:
https://www.marydebono.com/blog/girthy%20horse - Girthy Horse? Simple Steps Make Saddling a Pleasure (Our most popular blog post!)
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Feldenkrais® for Riders videos: https://www.marydebono.com/rider
Podcast show notes for this episode: https://www.marydebono.com/blog/h43
Hello. Today I wanna share with you something that when you become aware of this, it can improve your life and your horse's life really pretty significantly and really deep in the connection between the two of you. Okay? And it, it's going to impact things that you do on a regular basis, everyday things. So let me start by ex let me explain by telling you a little story.
So, sometime ago, a woman was telling me that she had hired this young lady at the barn to put on her horse's blanket on in the evening cuz she couldn't come out in the evening. So she hired this, this woman to do it. And they, it's so funny because, I mean, not really funny, but I found it actually quite sad.
But the fact is that both the, the paid person, the, let's call her a groom, the groom and the owner were very proud of this story, and they both separately told me about it. Okay? So situation is this lovely horse at the barn, Chestnut Arabian gelding, and they wanted him to wear a blanket, you know, it gets kind of cold here at night,
sometimes, relatively speaking for us southern Californians, it's kind of cold. And they wanted this horse to wear a blanket. And sometimes the horse had something to say about when he was blanketed, and he would lift a, a high in leg and kind of start to, to threaten the person with it. Now, this was true whether it was his owner or the paid person,
okay? So the groom and their response to this situation was to have a riding crop and to hit the horse if he were to lift the leg. Now, the horse never kicked. I wanna be clear on that. The horse never kicked. He lifted the leg in a, in a threatening gesture, you would call it, to say, Hey,
you know, to me I read that as he's saying I'm uncomfortable about, about this. There's something about this that doesn't work for me right now. Could you please think about what you're doing right? Or change something, do it softer, slower, whatever. But their response, both of them, was to have a, a riding crop in their hand.
And they were, again, both of them told me this individually, and they were so proud of it. They were so proud that they cured him of this by threatening they would hold the crop up first. They hit him with it a few times, I guess until then he realized he just had to see the crop and he wouldn't raise his leg.
And they thought that was a huge victory for them. And I was really saddened by that. And when I suggested that there were alternatives that, you know, you can teach a horse to do something, first of all, I would want to revisit how I was blanketing that horse. Maybe there was something that was kind of tickling him and irritating him in some way.
Maybe the blanket didn't quite fit. Maybe he didn't want the blanket. I mean, there's a million reasons that would need to be, you know, hashed out, right? And, but they didn't think of it that way. They didn't think of that at all. It was like, the blanket's going on and you will not pick up a leg and give us any feedback on this process.
And again, to me, that's so sad because that actually, you might think, well, what's the big deal? It, it did the job. The horse isn't threatening anymore, the horse is getting blanketed. He's probably much more comfortable in the middle of the night when it does get a little chilly and, you know, it's all good. But is it really because those everyday things,
those small little things that we do, whether once or on a regular basis, that sets the tone for our relationship, that lays the foundation for our relationship with our horse. So if you are okay, if you are okay with threatening your horse with violence, intimidating your horse, or actually using physical, you know, corrections, okay? That's, that's,
that's one way You're probably not listening to this podcast anyway. If, if that's your your thing. And if you are, what I would say is there are other ways of doing it. There's, there's kinder ways of dealing with that situation, okay? Much, much kinder ways that will ultimately build a not ultimately pretty quickly, build a very strong relationship between you and your horse.
And your horse will have trust in you. Your horse will, I mean, it'll be a true partnership, you know, and what's interesting, I I wanna say something about these individuals with that particular horse. The owner loved that horse. She loves that horse there. There's no doubt in my mind. And she, from all outside, you know,
just, just seeing her situation, you would say she takes very good care of that horse. And, and the groom, the paid person is a lovely person who lo you know, she loves the horses, okay? She's not trying to be mean, they don't know any other way. And when I tried to introduce a new way, I was completely shut down because that was outside their,
their, their, their thinking. You know, that was outside their paradigm. They wanted no part of that. And you know, people talk about like, think outside the box and all that. If you don't know you're in a box, right? You don't know, know to think outside it. Okay? So let me give you a, an exam,
another example. So my horse breeze, who now he's been with me for, I think it's seven over 17 years, 17, 18 years. He, he's 28 this year. He, when he, when I adopted him, I was told never try to put a blanket on this horse. And he had a lot of things they told me, never try to put a fly mask on him.
Never do this, never do that. I mean, he had a lot of, a lot of, a lot of things that he was selective about, we'll just call it that. And people in the past, even the people that had rescued him, even the people that were supposed to be kind to him, there were trainers he was involved with,
even in, you know, what we thought was a safe, what he, you would've thought was a safe situation where they actually were using very harsh methods with him. So for the blanketing, I guess someone tried to just put a blanket on him without really preparing him for it. And I don't know what his history is with blanketing before that. All I know is he,
I guess he completely freaked out when someone just tried to put a blanket on him. So they said, okay, we're not doing that anymore. But I thought, you know, there may be a time when he might need a blanket or a rain sheet or, or something. So I wanna get him used to that. So what I did when he became my guy is I started small.
I mean, he knew how to wear a saddle pad and a saddle and things like that. Well, I could fold something into the small size and put it on his back, right? And then what I taught him was to do something in response. In other words, I taught him, for example, to target on something meaning to, to,
to put his nose on something. I also taught him to stand still, right? And so then I started combining things. So I taught him to stand still and he was always rewarded. In my case. I used food rewards. You don't have to, there's other ways of rewarding the behavior, but I used food rewards. And I would say if you're going to go down that road,
you really have to study with somebody very intentionally, very intentionally. You can't just randomly be giving your horse food rewards because you can actually create a lot of frustration in the horse. So it has to be something that you really study before you start. That's my recommendation. But anyway, I, I've been doing this since I was a kid, so I am,
and I've studied with different people and all kinds of things and do this with horses since I was a child as well as dogs. So I have a pretty good handle on positive reinforcement training. So in my case, I taught him just to stand quietly and he'd get rewarded and I never over phased him. And little by little I would make this blanket bigger,
right? Always monitoring his responses though. So if he were ever to pick up a hin leg and tell me something didn't feel right, I would listen to him. I wouldn't shut him down, I would actually listen to him. Okay? So anyway, little by little, he learned that wearing a blanket is no big deal. Now, I could put a blanket over his head if I need to arrange sheet or whatever.
And he's perfectly fine taking it on, taking it off all the things. And he's learned to trust me. He's learned that, hmm, we can, we can cooperate. She'll listen to me, you know, and I'll listen to her, right? It's a give and take. It's, it's more, to me, that's more of what a partnership is about.
Okay? If I simply threatened him, like a lot of other people did, right? What he learned from that, from all the people that actually he hit very horrible people in his past that abused him terribly. He learned to say no to everything. So his first response was always, heck no, heck no. And he had a reputation that he was stubborn,
he was belligerent. I mean, that's what people said about him because he was always saying, no, heck no. And with me, because I started giving him a choice and a voice, people started saying, how do you get your horse to be so enthusiastic? Right? Which I think is funny to say, how do you get him to be that way?
Because it, that implies that I'm like shaping him to be enthusiastic. I'm just allowing him to be enthusiastic, okay? Setting up the environment for him to want to be enthusiastic. But anyway, I digress. So, so to give you another example, my horse is a gelding and there's certain things you take care of in his private areas. And so if I even would look at his sheath when I first adopted breeze,
he would raise a hi leg and threaten me. I mean, like, it's sort of like that area is, you know, off limits lady. And what, you know, some people would say, well, you just have to hit him and, you know, yell at him. And I put a chain on, you know, lip chain on him or whatever,
like people I'd done in the past or just let the vet handle it and sedate him, you know, while he is getting it done. But I, that wasn't satisfactory to me. You know, none of those choices were, and you're making a choice, okay? You're making a choice. So again, you know, he learned different things. He learned,
he knew how to target, he knew how to stand still. All I had to do was tell him one of those things, ask him a, you know, give him a cue for something and little by little introduce him to the fact that that area can be cleaned safely for me. Pleasant, you know, ple for him, well, not too pleasurable,
but pleasantly for him, right? Safely for both of us. And it would all be fine. And now, you know, loose in his paddock, that stuff can happen, right? And he just stands there because I chose, in my opinion, a more intelligent approach. So let me bring this to something that you do on a regular basis,
cuz maybe you don't, maybe you don't have a gelding and that's not an issue for your horse or whatever. Maybe you don't blanket and, but you probably groom your horse. I see the same thing with grooming, fly spray, et cetera. Someone told me recently that their horse didn't like to be fly sprayed and the horse would kinda like lean into them.
And it was, it was, from what she explained, it was not safe for her. And so what she did is one day she hauled off and she kicked the horse really hard in the chest and she thought that was a valid response. And she said he stopped doing it. So she thought, yay, victory, right? I I, I taught him not to do that.
But to me it's like you taught him to stand still, but at what cost, how does he associate being fly sprayed Now, how does he associate with you now? Like what, how did that, what kind of brick did that, did you lay in your foundation, right? Like what, what is your relationship made out of? If you think about if you're laying a foundation,
which you don't use bricks, I imagine you use concrete and things, but anyway, let's just pretend we're laying a brick foundation, right? Or some kind of stone foundation. What are, what are the types of materials you wanna use? How strong do you want that foundation to be? What kind of connection do you wanna build with your horse? What kind of relationship do you wanna have?
Is it one where threats of violence are the ways that you communicate? Or is it, let's figure out how we can both be safe? Okay, that's number one. Number one is you have to be safe, but, and do this in a way that feels good to me whenever I get a challenge like this. And my horse, trust me,
had a lot of challenges and he still is not the easiest horse in the world. I wanna be very clear about that. He still has some, some things that he's kind of funny about. But we managed to, to coexist very harmoniously for a long time now. And one of them was, I couldn't groom him when I first adopted him. And this was his,
his past. And it had a lot to do, I think because he was, again, he was very badly handled in the past. He had a lot of physical injuries on his body that he was, they would tack him up and ride him even while he had open sores on his side. So he just didn't want anyone touching him like that.
So, so things like brushing as a, especially as a prelude to riding, he, he just didn't want any part of it. So he would move away occasionally, he'd lift a leg and I worked with him on that. I chose to not just restrain him to not, I shouldn't say not just restrain him. I didn't restrain him. That was the thing.
I took him, I didn't tie him because I wanted him to know he could leave. Okay? So there was, there wasn't any kind of physical restraint and there wasn't any punishment or threat of punishment. I wasn't trying to intimidate him. You will stand still, you will be brushed and you will be fly sprayed. No. It's like, how can we do this in such a way that I could make this a pleasant experience for you,
right? Safe for both of us and pleasant for both of us. Okay. And that is really important. Now something you, so, and, and now of course he's fine with being groomed and we, you know, can do anything. I also trim him, you know, do hoof trimming myself. And that was a big problem for him in the beginning when,
you know, I would have farriers that would be very like, oh my gosh, with this horse is pain, right? But I learned to work with him and I come across a lot of horses, for example, that have issues with like really letting you have the weight of their hind leg. In other words, really giving the hi the hi leg.
A lot of times they wanna pull it up. Sometimes they threaten with it. But I found that if I can choose the path of kindness, okay? And if I can choose to support my horse, and there's, and I get more into this in my move with your horse program, where actually teach you the hands-on skill to know what I'm talking about here.
But you, you're basically supporting his leg in such a way that he, it's very particular way through the skeleton that, that he feels like, oh, not only is she not fighting me, she's actually giving me relief. Like the muscles around the joints actually can start to release. It's, it's really pretty cool. And the change can be quite dramatic.
Okay? So just putting that out there, again, that's choosing to work with the horse with kindness rather than to just fight the horse, intimidate the horse physically, you know, you know, correct the horse with, with, with hitting with a crop or whip or your hand or whatever. That is really, really important. You know, and,
you know, I'm reminded of this, if you think about, and I'm gonna talk about tacking up in just a moment, cuz tacking up is a really big one. And that's something that, that most horse people will do, right? They'll be tacking up their horse to ride. But before I go into that, let me, let me mention another one.
This reminds me of people that you know, and I don't have children of my own, okay? So I have no business talking about this. Absolutely none. But I'm gonna talk about it anyway. So for, for those you know, who have children or have been around children, I've certainly been around a lot of children. I, I happen to love children.
Kids that start hitting at a certain age, like young kids sometimes will start hitting adults, you know, like maybe their mom or, or somebody like that. And then a lot of times another adult, whether it's the mom or the grandma or whoever, an auntie or somebody decides that they wanna hit the kid to teach the kid that hitting is bad and they don't see that,
hmm, maybe there's like a little incongruency there, but that's maybe the way they were brought up. That's what they believe in. Again, those people from my experience, those horse people that do that with the kids also are very much into doing that with the horses. It's like, you pick up your leg to, to kick me. I will kick you.
You know, you try to do this, I will do something worse. Like it's, it's that. And I think they just don't know something different. I think they just don't know. Because once you know that you can choose kindness, I know you would choose it cuz you wouldn't be listening to this podcast, for example, if you didn't love your horse,
if you weren't interested in your horse's wellbeing, you wouldn't be listening to this, right? So, and I'm going to tell you that when you choose kindness, when you choose to think about it and say, is there a different way, you know, I have one of my magic questions I talk, i I repeat over and over for people is,
how can this feel easier? So how could that situation feel easier? How, what can you do differently? So, so let's talk about tacking up cuz this is another situation where a lot of horses have a lot of opinions about being tacked up. And often those opinions are completely shut down. Completely shut down. It's like they don't get a say so in what tacking up,
you know, feel how it feels to them. It's just put up with it and let's get on with our ride. So, oh, I've worked professionally with horses for over 30 years. I've seen a lot, all different disciplines and every level, okay? So from people who just, you know, keep horses in their, their small, you know,
backyard type situation to people going to international competition, okay? Highest, you know, highest level competition. And it's really interesting. So many horses show varying degrees of discomfort when they're being attacked up. Sometimes it's very subtle, sometimes it's just you see a change in the breath, maybe a difference in the eye or the ears or the tail switches. It doesn't have to be something obvious like they're flattening their ears and,
you know, really wrinkling their nose and, and grinding their teeth and stomping and kicking and things like that. Although those happen. And some horses will do everything they can to try to bite the person attacking them up. And what, what does the person do? The person usually just restrains them. So they can't be, you know, the mouth can't reach the,
the human or they threaten the horse. They hold that riding crop, they hold that whip, you know, they, they threaten the horse. And this is just accepted in the horse world. And I had a beautiful, a beautiful lesson from my spotsy quite a number of years ago. He's been gone now for many years. I remember this. So I had him in,
in a grooming area. It was in a crosstie area, but he wasn't tied. And you have to do what's safe for you and your horse. I prefer not to tie my horses. That's my thing. My horses are, have always been trained to stand and I, you know, monitor the situation. I don't walk off and leave them. There's other people around and things,
bad things could happen to anyone. But anyway, so my horse was, was loose. He was being tacked up, I was tacking him up and he turned around and just as, as I was starting to do up the girth, he turned around and he put his teeth right on the soft flesh of my waist, okay? And he just put his teeth there.
He didn't bite down, but he had his teeth there. And it was such a beautiful lesson because immediately I got this message from him that said, this is what it feels like to us. In other words, we are so vulnerable, you could hurt us at any moment. So this is what I did. I let him keep his teeth on me.
I absolutely 100% let his, let him keep his teeth on me as I very gently did up the girth. So now I'm not suggesting that you do that, right? He did not bite me. Now he was a horse that, that had bit me, especially when I first, when we first became partners, he bit me a couple of times really badly.
And so he was a horse that would nip okay? And, and sometimes flat out bite. So there, there was a distinct po possibility that he would bite me. But to me it was a wonderful, beautiful challenge because I thought, can I do this in such a way that he had no reason to bite me. Again, I'm not suggesting you do,
this might be a little over the top, but it was a beautiful lesson from me and I was already working with a lot of horses on this whole idea of making tacking up a pleasurable experience. Not only tolerable, not only tolerable, but actually something they can enjoy and benefit from. Like in other words, when you, when you're ging them up,
you're helping the sternum and the ribs be more mobile and the back be softer and all these wonderful things. So there's this, again, this is something we get into in my move with your horse program, but so many ho so, so I was already really aware of that, but it just, the, the beauty of that lesson was the feeling of vulnerability that I had and that I got the impression he said,
this is what it feels like to be a horse. Like we are vulnerable to, to you, to anyone who's tacking them up and other things we do with them that at any moment, right, they can, they can be hurt in some degree to some degree. So it was a great lesson for me and it really, really stayed with me.
So, so I have dedicated a lot of time and a lot of energy into this idea of making that experience something that can be pleasurable and that it's not just shutting the horse down, because think about this. So, oh, and I am gonna, going to link to this in the show notes. I have a really popular blog post all about this actually doesn't talk about my horse,
my happy spotsy. It's a different happy that I worked with, who had an issue with being tacked up. He, you know, he started to show discomfort. He was in a therapeutic riding program and the people there were fantastic, wonderful, compassionate people who wanted to solve this. And they knew about my work. So I came in, I gave the horse three sessions and I detail what I did with that horse and how I broke down the process of tacking up into all these different ways,
very novel things I did with this horse so that it was a positive experience. I did not use food. So it was positive reinforcement without food, right? It was actually the hands on work, the, the Debono moves that I teach and I teach that in my program, move with the horse that served as the positive reinforcer for the tacking up.
But it was also the way I did the tacking up and how I broke it down in different steps. So those people were fantastic that were in charge of that program and that were taking care of that horse because they embraced that whole thing. And that's why they called me out because they wanted to lead with kindness, with compassion, not only for their wonderful students,
but for their horses as well. And they knew ultimately that it's kindness to themselves also. Because when you lead like that, when you, when you take care of your horse from that place of kindness, when you ask, is there a easier way, is there a kinder way of doing this? It feels so good. You might think it feels good to dominate your horse and maybe for some people it does,
maybe that's the only thing they know. So it feels good. But once that door is open that you realize that you're always making a choice with your horse. You're choosing either the path of threats, you know, intimidating your horse, you know, things like that. Or you're asking, is there a dif is there a kinder way of doing this,
right? Is there a different way we can do this? Can we communicate differently here? Can we build trust? What am I, what bricks am I laying in our foundation, right? Threats of violence or can, can we have rapport? Can we ha can we build a connection here, right? Can I teach you something, something that's going to be pleasurable for both of us?
I find this process highly creative. Like I love it because it really sparks my creativity. So those kind of challenges are really fun for me. So it becomes a really pleasurable thing. So that's why it really saddens me when people, you know, tell me about, and again, it's a lot of times it's like they're, they're bragging about how,
oh, I, I got him to stop doing that, or I got hurt or quit that again by threatening their horse or actually physically hurting their horse. And they're proud of that. And again, those people, I'm guessing don't, even though I'm, if they say it to me, I, I can't help myself. I'm going to open the door and say there are other,
there are other options. I try to say it with kindness because I realize we're not all the same and we don't have the same background and things like that. So, but I I will definitely link to that blog post about tacking up because like I said, it's one of my, if not the most popular blog post I have, it's the second most.
It's either first or second, but it's really popular because So many horses have that. They might, again, it, it might be something subtle, they might just be tensing those abdominal muscles, right? So that means then you have to keep slowly tightening the girth because right, because they, they, they've, he, people think they're holding their breath,
they're actually just like tensing their abdominals. So then their, their, their silhouette so to speak changes and the girth tension will change. So you have to keep checking your girth and you know, or they might just do, you know, a little something, a little, a little wrinkling of the nose or the eyes or you know, something with the tail or the leg.
So instead of shutting your horse down, because when you shut your horse down, what are you teaching your horse? You're teaching your horse that you are wrong, you are bad and I'm not gonna listen to you. And to me that is not building trust. That's the opposite. You're, you're, you're, you are building mistrust between the two of you.
It's, it's like you're, you're damaging your relationship. So I'd really encourage people to think about that. Now, the, the problem ha is that honestly, and I'm just gonna be blunt about this, violence, intimidation are so ingrained in the horse world that most of us don't give it a second thought. This is what we do. We, we threaten our horses,
right? It's just what we do. And so, so people don't think twice about it. That's, you know, and maybe they, they just absorbed it from watching other people. Maybe they read it in books, online programs from in-person instruction, whatever, you know, the trainers, whatever. But it's just the way things are often done. And in fact,
when you introduce the opposite, when you start to be creative and kind and think outside the box, right? You might be ridiculed, you might be warned that you're gonna create a pampered pony that's going to be dangerous and frustrated. And I will say, if you're using food rewards, you do have to be extremely careful. Again, I wanna repeat,
I use food rewards very successfully. I've helped other people learn how to do it. That's not the focus of my work though. I don't teach people that, you know, I, I did privately a number of times, but that's not the focus of my online work. There are other people who do teach it though that are very, very good at teaching it.
So if you want little info on that, you can contact me. But I have done some, by the way, I have so much fun with positive reinforcement training, okay? I like to call it teaching rather than training and playing because it's not like training like you're a ro your horse is a robot. Anyway, I digress. So that's the thing.
So, you know, you'll be, you'll be potentially ridiculed or warned about not showing kindness. People think they equate that with weakness and they think the horse will take advantage of you. I do think you have to be smart about this. You have to always keep your safety and your horse's safety and everybody's safety top of mind. And you have to think things through,
right? So maybe think about different scenarios you have with your horse right now that you want your horse to feel differently about how could you approach them differently? What could you do differently to make that an a better experience for yourself and your horse? Because like I said, this will benefit both of you. When you choose kindness, when you choose compassion,
you know, I, I use a phrase a lot, I call it compassionate curiosity. It's being, and to me that's being curious without any judgment, right? And when you, when you embody that, when you have this sense of curiosity without judging, right? It's a beautiful place to be and there's all sorts, sorts of possibilities start to become available to you.
You really start to think outside the box. So look, before we end, I'm just looking at my notes here cuz I have pages of notes. I kind of went a little off track, but you know what I wanna say before, I don't even think I wrote this down, but there's another blog post I'm going to link to. I've mentioned it before in the podcast because it was a really,
really compelling story. It's something that happened during a workshop, an in-person workshop I did, I was doing a long, like a two week long workshop. And this woman who had a horse, she so young woman, she loved her horse. He happened to be a saddlebred in that type of training where the horses are kept confined over 23 hours a day in a dog stall.
And we are all ki kinds of rigging to stay in a certain position and they have to wear blankets and towel sets and, you know, horrible shoeing situation and no turnout. And anyway, most of us would just think it's horrible. That woman, however, was raised in that tradition. So she loved her horse. And until I, very gently,
because I have to use, you know, you wanna use kindness with your, our fellow humans too, okay? And I know sometimes it's more challenging, but with this kindness showing her some compassion, I was, we were, my students and I were able to show her that her horse could have a different life and a life that would be more satisfying for both of them.
And she did it. And it was, it's a really beautiful story. So I'll make sure I link to that. I called it think outside the stall, kind of like, think outside the box, like, haha. Anyway, so, okay, so, so let me wrap up here. So think about these everyday activities that you do, whether it's,
you know, picking out your horse's feet, you know, other, other grooming things you do. Maybe you do your own hoof trimming. Maybe you blanket or not blanket, you know, you're, you're tagging up process, you're leading whatever it is, right? If your horse is showing any sign of, hmm, I'm not so comfortable with that,
are you listening to her or you shutting her down? So ask yourself that, ask yourself that, right? Because those seemingly like trivial kind of mundane things, they're the juice, they're the heart of your relationship, it's like you're building your relationship on them, okay? So you want to be very mindful in how you respond to your horse and during other times as well,
during ride, you know, all the other things you do with your horse, the different interactions, of course you're obviously doing that, but these are like things that people just kind of take for granted. Okay? I'll give you one more example and I'll let you go again, my horse breeze, very abusive situation. He came from, I would say a solid 95% of the time when he was around humans.
When I first got to know him, he would do his, I call it the mouth anxiety thing, where they're kind of doing that chewing thing with their mouth. Like not, not not looking and chewing. It's definitely an anxiety response, certainly in his case. And so he had stomped doing that with me except for one situation. And he did it every time in this situation.
So he had learned that when I come retrieve him out of his paddock, put his halter on, it's all good things happen, it's all, you know, blah, blah, blah. It's all positive and we have this great time and he wants to come. And he winded really loud every time and he would like literally put his head in the halter,
let's go. But he would still do, because it was so ingrained in him to do that mouth anxiety thing when the halter came on because without going into the details of his previous life, he had some really bad stuff happen to him once the halter went on. So he would still do that. And I thought, oh, there's still, there's still discomfort there on some level,
even though he's willingly, he's calling to me, he's like, I'm happier here, let's go. I'm gonna put my head in this halter so we can get going. He'd still do it. So my timing is really good with positive reinforcement. I will say that I've done this, like I said, I have taught my, my horses and dogs from when I was a kid to do funny things.
So pretty good at that. And I was able with positive reinforcement to change that. But I didn't just shut him down because I had, there was actually a, a well known clinician who had come around and she happened to see my horse and her response was, I shouldn't even say her response. She, I, this was unsolicited, but she thought he should be hit hard in the face anytime he did that.
I kid you not, this is a woman who was going around teaching clinics in different parts of the, of North America, maybe even other places, I don't know. And that was one she thought should be done with my horse when he showed a little bit of anxiety. Are you kidding me? Yeah. So this is why you have to be careful who,
no, obviously I was like, that's not gonna happen. But this is why you have to be very careful who you take instruction from, okay? You know, who you listen to, including me, question everything I say decide for yourself, okay? If this feels right to you, but that just shows you how, you know, how so much in the horse world is just in this,
this, this culture of, I'm gonna say it again, violence, that it's physical, you know, attack, if you will, is what, what creates change in the horse. That's what people think is necessary. And obviously not everyone does, and other, other people use other methods, but that was really, no pun intended, very striking to me that somebody would say that and,
and want to do that. Okay? So, you know, you, you have to really, you know, and I, by the way, I talk a lot about this with dogs as well because I see this in grooming situations and other situations with, you know, walking dogs and, and doing things with them. Even the people that may use like positive reinforcement at other times,
they don't handle some other everyday situations the same way. And again, we really wanna question that. We wanna say, you know, what is my animal's response? You know, and how, how am I meeting that response and be mindful about it. So think about what I have to offer here. Think about it. Think about, you know,
you are making a choice, you're making a choice in how to respond. And I wanna say, if you've been responding the way many other people do, where you know, you raise a, a crop or a whip or your hand or, or your foot or you know, God forbid or whatever, don't feel guilty about it. It's like you did that,
now you know better. And you know the old saying, when you know better, you do better. So there's guilt is usually not a, a very productive emotion. So let that go. Maybe you can apologize to your horse and think let's, let's have a fresh start. That's one reason I wanted to talk about this at the end of the year.
It's like we can go into 2023. So if you're, if you're listening to this or watching it live, right? We're at the very end of December dec this is coming live December 29th, 2022. So think about, you know, let's have a fresh start. Let's have a kinder new year. Let's choose kindness. And this, again, this benefits you so much.
If you think about, you know, the, you know, the heart rate variability, if you think about your, just your overall sense of wellbeing as well as your horses will be so much enhanced if you choose kindness, right? It's also will, will spark your creativity, your partnership and really deepen your trust and connection between you and your horse.
So thank you so much for joining me. I think I said most of what I had planned to say and I really, really appreciate you so much for, for being here, for listening. And please share this information cuz again, this is very near and dear to my heart. I would love, and I believe you would love too, to see the world be a kinder place for all of us,
right? Two legged, four leggeds, and everyone else. Okay? Thank you again and I can't wait to talk to you very soon. Bye for now.