I already knew all of this, but the other day, I was reminded again of how sensitive horses are to us and how we must always be aware of ourselves. I was doing an EAL activity with three other girls where our goal way to put a halter on a horse, but with limited movement and communication between one another. While we struggled to figure out what to do, the horses grazed calmly, but when we would get close, the horses would walk away from us. In the heat of the moment, we simply tried again and again, still with no luck. It was only afterwards when we were discussing the experience that we realized why the horses kept walking off. We had been so focused on our goal that we completely forgot about the right way to get there. While we were working, we were all so determined to halter the horse that we completely forgot to make sure our body language was calm, and that we were calm.
It made me realize how easy it is to become so focused on a goal with your horses that you forget about how to “behave”, if you will, during the process. Even if the end goal is to help strengthen the relationship with your horse, you do not want to forget about the relationship during the process. We were putting so much pressure on ourselves, and therefore the horses, to achieve the goal that it was impossible to actually get there. The process is much more important that actually reaching the goal--making sure that you and your horses have calm communication, and the trust and respect is not broken are the most important parts of working with your horse. Yet, the amazing part is that if you focus on having a process that is good for you and your horse, you’ll almost always reach your goal anyways.