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What Does Horsemanship Mean To You?
By: Janelle Lamke

When people hear the term "Horsemanship" it means something different to every person.  Some think of it as a connection between humans and horses.  Others it brings to mind kindness and love.  When I hear the term horsemanship I think of it as the ability to communicate effectively with horses.  Without a clear communication between a rider and their horse the ability to progress in a positive manner and build a bond with your horse becomes hindered.   

 

Think of it as if you and your horse are speaking two different languages and you keep asking your horse the same question in a language they do not understand and you never change the way you ask the question to help your horse figure out the correct answer to what you are asking for.  At some point your horse is going to become frustrated because they are unable to figure out what you are asking of them or they will lose their confidence and possibly give up trying.  You never want a horse to lose its confidence and always want to build upon that.   

It is not natural for humans and horses to work together since horses are prey animals and humans are predators.  We think extremely differently from one another and is the reason some people have a hard time working with horses and getting the results they want.   The sooner you get a detailed understanding of equine psychology the faster you will be able to effectively communicate with your horse by changing your method of communication to something your horses understand.  This is one of the key elements to having good horsemanship.  

One of the biggest mistakes I find working with people is, they interpret horses as if they were another human and will give the horses human characteristics, feelings, and thoughts.  This is a very common mistake that starts a lot of behavioral issues with horses.   When we give horses human characteristics we are not communicating in the same language.   Treating horses in a manner based on how humans would feel if they were in the horses situation can become dangerous because it is not accurate in the way the horse interprets the same situation.  A lot of times this leads to the horse disrespecting the human and can cause significant behavioral problems. 

 

Humans take things much more personal than horses and have a larger emotional compacity than horses making humans much more delicate and causing people to not be firm enough with their horse in fear they may hurt the horses feelings and make them not like them.  Horses do not hold grudges like people do and the firmer you are with them the more respect you earn.  It is important to understand horses communicate with us like they do other horses and will treat us as if we are another horse or another member of the herd.  By studying equine behavior while in a herd you can learn how to read a horses body language as well as communicate with them on a level they understand.  

 

Obtaining an in depth understanding of horses and the ability to read their body language as well as communicate with them using our body language in a manner they understand is what I consider horsemanship.  This is not something that is learned overnight and some people have to work much harder at it than others to become good at it.  Essentially it comes down to feel, timing, and experience.  Being able to have a feel for the situation and the type of horse you are dealing with and how much pressure is needed to get the results you are looking for.  As well as timing and knowing when to release the pressure, since horses learn from the release of pressure not pressure itself, as well as prior experience.   You will never stop learning since every horse is different, just like people so each horse you work with will teach you something new but having the understanding of how the horses mind works and how they perceive the world will help significantly when working with them.

 

Once I read Clinton Anderson's Philosophy book it completely changed my ability to communicate with horses and I started getting much better and faster results since I was finally communicating with them on a level we both understood.  I was able to understand why a horse might be acting the way they were and how to go about fixing it and getting the result I wanted instead.  It is an excellent book outlining equine psychology and explaining it in a manner that is easy to understand.  I highly recommend it to anyone that wants to improve their horsemanship and get a deeper understanding of a horses mindset.

As the owner of Lasting Impression Horsemanship, LLC I wanted to establish a business that was known for its ability to get rapid lasting results creating safe dependable horses.  I also wanted to be able to share my knowledge and experience with others and help them get a deeper understanding of horsemanship and ability to develop a mutual bond built on respect and trust between owners and their horses.  Once you earn a horses respect they will then start to trust you, when they do, you will be able to get them to do just about anything. 

 

Continue to follow along with more blogs to get valuable information and insight from an experienced horseman. 

 

"Remember horses are horses not people so treat them like a horse."

~Janelle Lamke

Lasting Impression Horsemanship LLC 

"If you want something bad enough you will find a way.  If you don't you will find an excuse." 

-Clinton Anderson

Lasting Impression Horsemanship, LLC, uses Natural horsemanship to create bonds with your horse from mutual respect and trust
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