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One of the hardest concepts about training horses to get across to people is that horses do not think like we do. Your horse is a prey animal and you are a predator, which means he sees the world in a completely different way than you do. One of the major differences between us is that prey animals have an ingrained flight or fight response and act first and think later, as opposed to predators, who think first and then act.
You won’t experience any success with horses until you understand how horses perceive the world around them and learn how to communicate with them in a way that they understand. If you don’t understand why your horse does the things that he does, horsemanship is not only frustrating, it can turn dangerous. When you’re working with a 1,000-pound animal, that’s a bad combination.
One of the best qualities a good rider has is being what I call a “thinking horseman.” That means that when you encounter a problem, instead of resorting to your predator tendencies, you think through the situation from your horse’s perspective and figure out how to get your idea to become his idea. That all falls back to making the right thing easy and the wrong thing difficult.
To better understand how your horse thinks and how to best communicate with him, check out our Philosophy Series, it’s a free resource available to everyone. To view the videos, go to the Downunder Horsemanship app and scroll down to the Philosophy video section. The app is a free download from the App Store and Google Play.