The Language of the Horse
"A good horse trainer can get a horse to do what he wants him to do. A great horse trainer can get a horse to want to do it" - Monty Roberts.
The concept of choice and building trust is at the heart of my work with horses.
I work in a non-violent way with an understanding of the nature of the horse and their natural instincts and unlike some harsh training methods out there I do not rely on pain or restraint and I never force the horse to do anything. I have spent years studying the psychology of the horse and how it differs to human psychology, which is crucial to understand in order to successfully communicate and work with horses.
As you know all horses and ponies are individuals. They have different personalities, abilities and levels of sensitivity much like humans do, but despite this they only have 2 goals in life: one is to survive and the other is to reproduce. It is because of these 2 goals that a language exists between them.
'The Language Equus'.
Whilst training for The Monty Roberts Introductory Certificate Of Horsemanship back in the years leading up to 2010, I learnt all about the horses incredibly effective communication system which dramatically changed my horsemanship. The results I began to achieve were mind blowing!
Monty Roberts has spent his lifetime studying horses and describes the horses' language/communication system as 'The Language Equus'. It is a silent language that is based almost entirely on body language; a language of gestures. Monty found through his years of work with horses, a way of interpreting the horses' body language and how we can successfully mimic these subtle gestures and use our bodies to effectively reply.
Monty also found that not only was their language of gestures highly effective but it was also predictable and discernible, incredibly useful knowledge to have when training horses!
A memorable experience abroad
I can remember one particular holiday abroad when I ended up travelling through a country where I didn't speak the language. I can honestly say that it was one of the most frustrating experiences of my life. I was in my early twenties, alone, lost and unable to communicate verbally with anyone. I felt feelings of panic and frustration and amongst many tears I just kept hopefully asking strangers "excuse me, but do you speak English?"
Eventually a lady answered me with " yes, a little bit." The sense of relief that I then experienced, was really quite amazing. It didn't matter that it was only 'a little bit'! I was just so relieved to have some communication and be understood. Filled with hope, we continued most of the conversation with fragments of English, interspersed with many gestures of body language, and I successfully found my way again.
I always look to this experience when I try and imagine what it must feel like for a horse who is being misunderstood, and I can sympathise with the owner who generally is suffering extreme frustration!
Now-a-days watching both the horse and owner begin to relax and communicate successfully with one another as their first session with me progresses, is such a truly rewarding experience for all 3 of us!
Through having a better understanding of your horses psychology, how their minds work and how they communicate through body language gestures, you can then effectively solve or better still prevent any behavioural problems by using THEIR language, creating that amazing, magical bond between you both.
An important point to remember is that your body is communicating with your horse whether you realise it or not; each move or gesture you make, each flick of your eyes - be aware - your horse is watching you!!!!
For more information about Monty Roberts and his training methods go to www.montyroberts.com