Do you sometimes have difficulties with a certain character trait of your horse? A trait that arouses irritation, incomprehension, or frustration in you?
And have you been looking for a “solution” for this character trait for a long time?
Then it might be good to dwell on the fact that you cannot just change everything in the character of your horse.
Just like a human, a horse has its own unique character. Some traits are determined by experiences in life, by education/training, or by environmental factors. Others are innate.
For some of those traits, it’s better to accept them, instead of wanting to change them.
Because it can be a good exercise to learn to see your horse the way he is. To accept him as he is.
That you learn to deal with what irritates you in a positive way, instead of going against it.
Make a list of positive character traits
You can do the following exercise: make a list of all the positive traits of your horse. That list may look like this:
- Easy going
Make a list of the traits that annoy you. This can look like this:
- He’s not assertive towards other horses, he always gets picked on
- Very much focused on food
Now think about how you can turn this last list into something positive. Eg:
- Phlegmatic -> my horse is very calm when hacking out, which is better than being uncontrollable
- He’s not assertive towards other horses-> my horse is very gentle and accommodating
- Very much focused on food -> rewarding with food during training works great!
Ask the right questions
By making such a list you learn to focus on the positive qualities of your horse and see something positive in everything that irritates you. And of course, there will be things you can change, even háve to change, but always think carefully and ask the right questions.
- Is this something my horse has yet to develop further and how can I help him with it?
- Is this a character trait my horse has picked up by training/life experience and therefore not something natural to my horse?
- Is this trait unfavorable for the happiness, well-being, or health of my horse?
- Does this less good character trait of my horse has something to do with the environment or the way he is treated and if so, how can I change that?
- Is this a trait that I mainly have to learn to deal with instead of going against it?
- Is this a typical trait of my horse that actually makes him beautiful?
- Does this character trait of my horse mainly trigger an – unprocessed – emotion in myself, causing me to react emotionally?
- Is it possible to learn to deal with this trait in a friendly and gentle way?
So the next time you feel irritation, frustration, or anger coming up, ask the above questions. And make a list.
This way you can change what can be changed and accept what has to be accepted.
Need help? The foundation of my work with horses is Liberty Training and the 8 connection exercises. By doing those connection exercises you get to know your horse better. You also learn to deal with the less positive sides of your horse (or what first seemed less positive…) and you learn how to handle them appropriately.
You can get my online guidance by joining The Horsefulness Liberty Training Program
Feel free to share your lists below in the comments 🙂