Sunday, February 17, 2013

Where There is Trust There is No Need for Force

My rescue horse Trigger on our back porch.
During the two last months of my pregnancy
I didn't ride my horses but we spent a lot
of time together.

Todays post is dedicated to one of my obsessions!  One that definitely fuel my creative ideas and force me to think outside the box. I'm talking about the strong urge I feel to not use any kind of physical force when I handle horses. I want them to chose to be with me. Sometimes this is challenging. Especially since I often work with rescue horses. Horses that's been abused or neglected. These horses don't trust humans, for good reasons. It takes time and creativity to win their trust. I feel very passionate about doing that, winning their trust. I guess you could say that it's an obsession I have. 
It would be fairly easy "to make these unruly" horses (they often have issues that could be seen as bad manners) to obey. That's not what I want to do.  
I try to give them a good horse life, a life similar to how wild horses live. I want to give them as much freedom as I can. My horses live in herds on big pastures. I give all new horses a lot of time before I start riding them, even the horses that are trained for years. I prefer to have a foundation to work from. "Rules" that feels good for both me and the horse that I'm working with. These "rules" can be different depending on the horse's experience, age, breed, knowledge and personality. 

Trigger likes to follow me around when
I work in the garden. In this
picture he hangs out with me
when I'm working in the garage.
The choice to handle horses using my head rather than muscles, requires a lot of creativity. Its often challenging and that what's I thrive on. The sensation when you can interact with a big, powerful animal through feel is amazing. It's worth all the efforts to gain the trust of a skeptical animal. I'm not an extraordinary horse person in anyway. I'm just a regular girl that has loved horses all her life. I had the good fortune to be able to observe and interact with many horses (and wise horse people as well.) 

Horses makes me humble. I noticed that I have to trust a  horse before he can even consider trusting me. My closest horse friend, Trigger, didn't let me touch his head when I got him. After getting to know him I found out that his tongue had a deep cut, after a sharp bit someone used on him. He's mouth is completely healed now and he accept having a bit in his mouth, but his is happier without it. Trigger and I have a deal: I ride him without anything in his mouth and in return he trust me to make good decision. It's been a long time consuming road to come to this point in our relationship BUT definitely worth it! It feels very good to know that we've come to this point of mutual understanding completely without force. In the beginning Trigger questioned most things I suggested, now he is very eager to please. You can make a horse obey with force, but to truly make him your friend you can't use force. To make friends you sometimes have to be creative. For me this creativity is addictive and sort of an obsession. It's so rewarding! Why do it any other way? 

Trigger, (Hayley!) and I in Eldorado National Forest.

Do you want to know more about Trigger? 


  1. Precis så försöker jag också förhålla mig till djur. När Michael och jag bodde på Hawaii hjälpte jag till på ett ställe där man tog hand om övergivna hundar och katter. Och jag hade samma inställning som du har när jag närmade mig de djuren. Kram!

    1. Å, vad fint :) Jag visste inte att du var en djur människa. Det finns så många djur här som far illa. Alla som hjälper till att gōra livet bättre för de är verkligen värd beröm :)


  2. I love this post, Maria! I've enjoyed being around horses for a long time but have never had one of my own. Over the past few years, I've taken care of a horse for my friends in San Diego while they traveled. The woman who owns this horse does not subscribe to the same type of "training behavior" as you do and I always found it discouraging and also demeaning to the horse. Thank you for validating that my thoughts about this are shared by someone who has horses and has successfully used this "technique" with her horses - you! Thank you!!!

    1. Thank you so much for your heart warming words Lois! I'm sure her horses appreciated your care a lot!

      Have a wonderful day <3



I´d love to hear what you think about todays post. Did you relate to the topic?