Boundaries and How to Use Them...continued

Hello. Hope you liked the idea last week about the podcast and haven't been put off too much by all the technology. Mark said that there have been a few emails, so he has set up an page on the site, where you can ask questions and more importantly read the responses. Click FAQ Page to read more. I am delighted to be able to announce our first podcast has arrived and here it is: Nature Helps in Bonding With Horses - read by Beth Schang [podcast][/podcast]

In future, we will post all new recordings on this special Podcasts Page as well as on their relevant post. Thanks Beth - very nice!

So today's post is a continuation of our discussion last week about boundaries. Now that I have shared with you my observations about rude behavior and how horses use flexible boundaries that create a cohesive herd and deep friendships, you might ask how boundaries could create friendships between horses so I would like to explain this point.

When someone is rude, they do not care about the other person's feelings. Once a person cares about someone there is a natural politeness that follows that also brings about a care-taking attitude.

When another horse sets boundaries the horse that respects those boundaries eventually has to consider the other horses feelings, which interrupts their agenda and self-interest. When this happens an automatic interest in the other horse is created. The evolution of his response causes the horse to feel friendship and respect.

I brought what I had learned from my study of how horses form alliances into my training Method. The reason communicating with a horse like a horse is so powerful is that you can create a bond that is less conditional, much like the bond horses share with one another. Once I gained the ability to communicate with horses in this way, I found a deeper connection than what most horses share. This was a surprise to me.

I had found a cross-species bond. And it is a magical bond.

From this discovery, I developed a greater appreciation for others and life brought me more meaning. It turned me into an optimistic being with a practical, altruist attitude. I developed a love for community caring for the individual and the individual caring for community. I became aware that all movements are a dance in matching patterns in the moment, both in chaotic and harmonious times. There are intervals in time that carry attitudes and needs that must be met or allowed to be. I learned how to fit in and lead horses. Anything will naturally follow a leader that brings more meaning and abundance to the needs in the moment. I lose my agenda since that does not match the moment.

In training or riding, I never address rude behavior because my goal is to inspire a feeling in the horse of wanting to be soft and polite and having a great desire to follow my lead. Before a horse exhibits rude behavior, when the moments are relaxed at liberty on the ground, I reconnect with a horse. I refresh the relationship with the daily practice of the Waterhole Rituals before I ride and train. This way I do not have to be as firm in setting boundaries if a conflict does arise. Boundaries are easy to set because the horse doesn’t have a strong interest in being rude he is naturally more willing to listen.

I go through an everyday checklist to establish the flexible boundaries that bring about a friendship, respect, and trust. Here is the checklist:

  • Can I move my horse way from me and not have it come back?
  • When we are close is my horse soft to me and gentle and gives me the room I need?
  • If I walk toward my horse and want him to move on will he?
  • When my horse is walking up to me could I stop him for coming all the way up?
  • If the answer is no, then I set these bounders with my horse for that day. If they are not easy to set, I share space and ask for nothing more until the segment of time evolves the relationship to a another segment of time that is easier to set bounders.

    If your horse responds positively to my checklist, your horse should work with you very well in any pursuit and not be rude. If your horse shows rudeness you probably are not handling yourself appropriately toward your horse or you are asking him to do something that needs to be put to him in another way, or changed to a different subject to allow the support and connection to return between the two of you.

    As I said, I make sure these four circumstances are agreed upon before any training and riding. I use the first five Rituals to reestablish the bond trust, respect, focus and willingness, and then I test the boundaries. When I ask for performance it is always a request and never a demand or an insistence. If training and riding is your self-agenda, you need to be more polite to your horse so you won’t disrupt his interest in partnering with you.

    When a horse responds positively to my checklist, I ride. I am a guest on my horse's back when I ride. Riding is a privilege he offers me and not a right. I ride suggesting my lead rather than demanding and pointing out things I do not like about his behavior. He is not my slave. He is a willing partner and if he is not willing I figure out how to put the willingness back in him without pointing out to him he has to do anything for me or that he is rude. (Sure there are times that I am strong in my leadership when I ride but only on rare occasions. I can try being strong with a demand for leadership but it is only an experiment and if that does not work I quit and let the horse have his way.)

    I seldom have any problems because I do my homework on the ground first. If I have tack on my horse while I am leading him, I try to work with the horse rather than look for holes or problems. The Uberstreichen Exercises put a horse in a very willing connection with tack. After the Waterhole Rituals checklist is passed and adding in the Uberstreichen Exercises, I have a very willing horse. At this point I need to lead him in a way that will keep the dance and connection alive.

    To put perspective on how to be with a horse, I want to again point to the social behavior of humans. A guest would never point out to the host at a social function that they are being rude. It is not the guest's place to do that. It is not practical either.

    A famous America Indian spiritual leader, I do not remember his name, once said: “I must find out where my people want to go so I can lead them there.” This is how we want to approach our horses when we ask the horse to be in service and go somewhere we would like him to go.

    In the Waterhole Rituals we are not asking for any self serving act we are only working on relationship with the focus on team work building and creating and optimistic horse sharing a magnetic connection and a desire in the horse to want to learn, follow your lead and perform.

    I hope the above make as much sense to you as it does to me and I look forward to reading your responses.

    By the way, this YouTube is a wonderful example of how to create a response without a demand.



    P.S. Remember - On Thursday I will have news about the next Waterhole Rituals Insider Circle, so be sure to tell your friends via Facebook by using the using the blue f-Share button below.