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Memoirs of a Horse Owner by Sam - "The word respect doesn't have a place in horsemanship!"

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   April 15, 2012 08:48

Memoirs of a Horse Owner by Sam Horsemanship ....... it is an art, a science, a tradition and a lifelong journey! are a collection of my personal memoirs as a horse owner.They are about my experiences and about my understanding of horsemanship.They do not necessarily reflect the opinion of and in some cases, they do not reflect the opinion of the majority of horse owners today.They are about my journey toward understanding a horse.

Whenever people talk about horsemanship, someone always brings up the word "respect".The common idea is that a horse has to respect its owner.Ummm.....What if I were to say that the word "respect" doesn't have a place within the art and science of horsemanship?I imagine that I would be on pretty slippery ground if I said that.A lot of folks would strongly disagree with me.But ... I am going to say it.The word respect doesn't have a place in horsemanship.

Have you ever noticed that the word respect is applied to the horse that is misbehaving in some way?It is usually said about the horse that is stepping on its owner’s foot or pushing its owner around.Undoubtedly some wise owl will take note and make a comment about how the horse needs to have more respect.

Now I don't disagree that the horse ought not be misbehaving.That goes without saying.Yet to say that the horse misbehaves because it does not respect its owner is a pretty simplistic answer to a complex problem.And worse yet, it implies that the horse is to blame for its misbehaviour.I am not even sure that a horse knows what the word respect means.And I am downright certain that they do not know anything about blame.

Perhaps we should be focusing on words like relationship and language and leadership.Those are concepts that a horse understands.Maybe the next time that a horse steps on your foot, a little birdie will take note and comment on how you should be working to build a better relationship with your horse by learning more about his language so that you can become a better leader.

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General | herd behaviour | training

"What is the fine line between punishment and abuse"

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   April 9, 2012 19:06

Trick Training Philosophy "Train with Trust and Communication"

Trick training is a great way to foster a fabulous relationship with your horse.  In order to have a great relationship, you have to have great trust, and great communication. 

In order to make trick  training enjoyable and achievable by all, I train with grace, rather than force.

Jackie Johnson


A question was posed "What is the fine line between punishment and abuse"


The only book that I have ever seen that succinctly addressed the topic of punishment is "The Complete Training of Horse and Rider In the Principles of Classical Horsemanship", written by Alois Podhajsky who states: "Any punishment is wrong if the knowledgeable onlooker is unable to understand for what reason the punishment was administered. And in such a case, how would the horse know why he is punished? The rider with high ambitions and little knowledge will be more inclined to revert to punishment than the more experienced rider. He will try to obtain by force what he cannot achieve by the correct use of the aids....."

That said, I don't for one second pretend to be holier than anyone out there when it comes to controlling my own frustrations and emotions. To me, a relationship with a horse is like a relationship with a person. There are going to be fun times and hard times, and you're going to fight with each other and make up. When one can recognize their frustrations and inabilities as a weakness then they can educate themselves in the areas where they are weak - should they choose....and that, I think, is the line between punishment and abuse. We are all human, we all have our weaknesses, and when it comes to horses we ALL start at experience level 'Zero' we don't all have experienced masters of equitation to lead us gently through the necessary learning curves. When a person is unwilling to address their own weaknesses through education, so that they may better themselves, then their repeated acts of frustration become acts of abuse.


There is a common saying amongst dedicated horse folk that, when it comes to horses, you stop learning when you are dead, and with the modern wonders of technology, there is endless informational and educational material available right at your fingertips.  When training horses frustrations are a fact of life....but how you handle those frustrations, and your decision on prolonging those frustrations are a matter of choice.

Training Tips written by Jackie Johnson, for


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single horse driving | training