"Making The Connection" has a dual meaning for me. First, the important thing you can do with your horse is make connection. No matter what stage of training you are in, having your horse feeling for you, looking to you as both friend and leader is vital to your success as partners. That first connection with a wild horse is indescribable to anyone who has never experienced that first moment when the horse is willing to set its fears aside and reach out to you in curiosity. Those first seconds of tentative friendship are the beginning foundation of all the opinions that horse forms about people. Don't make the mistake of thinking that first physical contact is the first connection, with a "wild"* horse, connection starts the moment you can capture the horse's attention and not cause the horse any fear, the distance between you is irrelevant, because once you have that curious attention you can begin to convey your ideas and have a conversation with that horse. The horse coming to you of its own accord for the first sniff of a hand should actually be the end product of a long conversation. I hope to reveal in the future articles of this blog, just exactly how I go about forming connections and shaping "conversations" with different horses at various stages of training. Because the way to connect with each individual horse is different, and because there are so many unique situations horses present, I shouldn't run out of stories to share any time soon.
Second I hope to "make the connection" with you, my reader, that in some small way you will be able to see yourself and the horses in your life reflected in the experiences I document here. That you will also be able to sympathize with my mistakes and frustrations, and share in the joy of my successes.
Lastly, a comment on the subtitle "One Horseman's Point of View". I feel slightly presumptuous using the term "horseman" to describe myself, because I think of the word as a portmanteau, a word that is made up by joining two other words, in this case horse/human. Often used for hybrids a portmanteau signifies the joining of two creatures given a name to represent both. Like a zorse is the cross of a zebra and a horse, in the same way I feel that a horseman is a human that understands a horse's feelings and primal nature so well that they think like an entirely different creature, less like a human, but still not exactly a horse either. A true horseman behaves so intuitively that the horse almost immediately desires a connection with that human as its chosen leader. I am no where near the status of horseman yet, but I do feel my feet are somewhere on the road to that destination. I welcome you to walk with me on that journey, what ever triumphs and trials lay ahead. It is my hope that by sharing parts of my own adventure towards being a horseman, that you will be inspired to go further in your chosen path of horsemanship. Our roads are as different as the horses we ride
.*I will use the term wild interchangeably with feral and unhandled, while technically the terms have very different definitions, the horse's mental state is the same, one of extreme fear and mistrust of humans. The same ideas can be applied to horses that have endured abuse or mistreatment at the hands of humans.