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Horsemanship is About Partnership

A Journey of Becoming a Balanced Partner-

This post will wrap up my learning experience at the Forge a Deeper Bond clinic, I attended at the beginning of June. Of course my understanding and growth continues through my horses, but the last few posts have focused on sharing what the horses that I worked with during the clinic have taught me.

The last, but certainly not least of the trio of mares that helped facilitate learning that weekend, was Lil' Shadow… she is the black mare in the image below. This image was provided by Eagle and Wild Horses Ranch, who was also the host of the great clinic taught that weekend by Elsa Sinclair of Taming Wild.

Horses used for Elsa Sinclair ClinicWhen Resistance Finds You – Increase Your Awareness-

I often share in my horse health consultations and online training courses that resistance is a tool and guide on our journey that needs to observed and studied, not simply heeded and listened too. I have experienced this many times and in particular in the case of essential oils. (You can get my full story on essential oils in the Chapter 1 Preview of my eBook), but simply put had I looked into my resistance to essential oils when it reared its ugly head, I believe my journey would have undergone a monumental positive shift much sooner!

Moving into or inspecting resistance was not a new concept for me… so at the clinic when I felt resistance towards Shadow, I responded by increasing my awareness and understanding of her. For that I am grateful because she painted a picture of transformation and partnership over the weekend that I will not soon forget.

I Want it Now!

One thing Elsa repeated throughout the weekend is her belief and view that the dominant horse or a horse that goes into dominant behavior desires connection and they want it right now! She also explained, that is the basis of her brand of Taming Wild… it was not chosen on the premise of her taming a wild horse. But that she sees a need for both us and the horse to balance and tame that wild streak that wants everything right now.

I resonate with this and find it is often something I face when promoting natural horse health principles. Natural remedies and care take time, where as traditional or pharmaceutical options can bring results right now… because of this I often have to “tame the wild” out of horse owners in the same sense.

Shadow was very clear and loud in her expressions of dominance over the herd she was in, and it was no different when we (the participants and Elsa would work with her). Because of her high energy and loud behavior, I naturally resisted working with her. Here are a few thoughts to that resistance, as I observed and looked at where it came from:

  • I am calm by nature, enjoy and strive to maintain that calm, and prefer to not increase my energy if I don't need to.
  • I need processing time (thinking time), especially when I am learning new things. Being a participant in this clinic already took a fair amount of my energy and focus, I did not want to meet her energy at this time, as it would drain and distract from my overall goal. These points also did not make us an ideal partnership or set us up for success…
  • If I chose to work with her, it was likely she would be 2 miles ahead of me in thoughts and action. Because she easily was 1 mile ahead of her surroundings most of the time.

Teaching Your Horse to Help Themselves Feel Better

The first day of the clinic I chose not to work with Shadow, but I observed her often, both with the participants that did, when Elsa worked with her, and when she interacted with the other horses. During her clinic Elsa said that passive leadership is about teaching your to help themselves feel better. Shadow did an amazing job presenting that to anyone open to seeing that weekend!

By day 2, Shadow was much softer, calmer, and easier to get along with both for us and the other horses. There were still times that she chose to barge into their spaces or resort to a more dominant conversation. Even then it was far less rude and dramatic.

Observing her upon my arrival on day 2, I knew that it was a good day and time to work with Shadow, equally for her and myself. Over the course of the weekend, Shadow was bringing everything Elsa shared full circle in my mind.

Elsa Sinclair Horsemanship

She helped solidify, that partnership takes balance, understanding, and support. The participants and Elsa offered support and guidance through passive leadership to encourage Shadow to seek balance and make herself feel better. We must remember it takes understanding and decisions to be in relationship and connection to our horses. One of the principles that Elsa taught was, I am in control of my body and the horse is in control of theirs.

The ultimate goal of partnership is to be together, this togetherness should equal in energy, thought, and movement. It is up to us to be the best partner we can be, assuring we are fair, reasonable, and setting things up for success. The horse being an equal partner must do the same for the relationship to work and passive leadership offers a non-manipulative or coercive conversation to accomplish it. For me this was the path I was looking for and after the positive shifts and changes I saw in such a short amount of time with Shadow, helped clarify the path and next part of my personal horsemanship journey.

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The title photo of this post is the work of professional photographer, Nadja Rider. She has a great passion for the mustangs of the Sand Wash Basin and her work brings awareness and life to the herds and horses there. I hope to further the efforts of her great work, through utilizing these beautiful images. If you would like to follow these horses on Facebook Click HereBe sure to check out Nadja photos, they share a story of the lives of mustangs in such an honest and authentic way.