Horses are individuals with an authentic spirit and every horse is unique. It's important to look behind incidental behaviour, to know who the real authentic horse is inside, and to bring that out in the horse.
Straightness training is all about helping our horse to reach his full potentional and flourish and become the best he can be, not only physically but also mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
Horse are like the "David" statue of Michelangelo. When they asked Michelangelo how he made the statue he answered: "A block of marble was provided and it was already in there, I just had to remove some parts."
The challenge is not to change a marble or a horse, but to bring out the best in him by changing ourselves, our approach and our guidance.
High, low and medium spirited horses
The spirit is the level of intensity the horse expresses himself with: mild, moderate or extreme. So a horse can be:
- Low spirited
- Medium spirited
- High spirited
High spirited horse
A balanced high-spirited horse is an energetic, vital, full of life, vibrant, exuberant, sparky horse and this horse has a proud and unbroken spirit.
An unbalanced high-spirited horse can be a beautiful creature when observed from far, but can be very nervous, fearful, defensive and hard to control when close to humans.
Low spirited horse
A balanced low-spirited horse is relaxed, calm, trustful, friendly, tolerant, grounded horse and is motivated and willing to work.
An unbalanced low-spirited horse can be lazy, stubborn, hard to motivate and unwilling to obey.
Medium spirited horse
A lot of horses are 'medium spirited' or somewhere on the continuum 'high-low'.
Every spirit, wherever on the continium, has it's strengths and weaknesses, and it's our responsiblity to help the horse to stay balanced or to return to it's original spirit.
5 Tips on how to keep your horse spiritual in balance
Tip #1: Be the example
Horses are very good at mirroring, so make sure to develop a relaxed, grounded, centered and balanced 'self' yourself.
Tip #2: Meet his needs
To preserve the spiritual balance of your horse, you have to meet the instinctual needs of your horse first. Make sure to provide good circumstances so that our horse can learn and grow and become spiritually balanced and centered.
TIP #3: Give your horse time to heal
If you just bought your horse and the circumstances for your horse in his previous life were not optimal, give your horse time to heal.
So take care not to set high goals for your horse and to act like a 'human doing' 😉 , but remain a 'human being' for a while and take time to 'just be' with your horse and spend time by just hanging out together, doing nothing.
Another good strategy for a horse to heal, is to make him part of a balanced herd of other horses.
Tip #4: Understand the past, stay in the now
Then when you start to do some training with your horse, make sure you give your horse the feeling that you understand him and his past deeply, but also tell him that this is a different life now, that he doesn't need to run his old patterns, that he doesn't need to react on old triggers, and that you are here to help him to get back to his true authentic self.
Tip #5: Clear and consistent guidance
Clear and consistent guidance is the key to a healthy horse-human working partnership.
Inconsistency and lack of boundaries are key factors for spiritual imbalance and this makes very hard to do Straightness Training with your horse.
So make sure to create a healthy learning environment for your horse by setting clear bounderies and providing clear guidance.