All methods, techniques, and tools are neutral, until a human uses it.
Therefore even the 'best' tool, method and technique can lead to a drama when used in the wrong way.
So every method, every tool can be used, not used, misused and used to abuse.
Because it's always the human behind the tool.
You are the tool
Some tools are seen as very controversial in horse training - for example the whip - and some people are very much against it.
But a whip on the ground won’t hit or hurt a horse, it only comes to life when a human touches it.
Therefore, a whip in the hands of a trainer in an angry and disempowering state will have a different effect than a whip in the hands of a trainer in a happy and empowering state.
A whip itself will never attack a horse. It will never hurt a horse out of the blue. It's always te human behind the whip who brings a whip fully alive; you ARE the whip.
The same applies to reins and bits.
It's not you - the reins - the bit - the mouth as if these are separate things.
You connect with the horse through your 'extension': the reins and bit; you ARE the reins, you ARE the bit.
It's never the tool
Whatever tool we use, it's never the bit, it's never the whip, it's always the human behind the tool.
Bits, reins, whips and other tools are only useful or harmful if humans touch them.
They are an extension of us and our energy.
They don’t become energy until we touch it.
Or course whips can be used to cause pain.
And not all tools are equal, some tools - such as the whip - have greater capacity to create pressure.
But if we're using the whip correctly, if we use it as an extension of our arm and energy, it does no more harm than it would lying on the floor.
Therefore if we start to 'judge' a piece of equipment, we should judge the human in the first place 😉
And we should not judge a certain tool - such as a whip - in order to try to make ourselves seem more kind and loving to our horse.
We should not drop down to a low level of consciousness, but step up and realize that every tool, method, technique can be used with the best intent, but from the horse's perspective it might not always be the best way to use it;
- Riders who ride with loose reins to prevent the mouth from harm, might be ruining the back the horse when their horse runs like a 'hammock'.
- A wrongly timed clicker can confuse the horse and bring him mentally out of balance.
- A ‘bossy’ training style at liberty can surpress or ruin the horse's spirit.
But riders who have good energy and feel are appreciated by the horse because of their refined and clear communication.
They also might use the whip to make them as 'horizontal' and long as the horse, because with the whip they can extend their energy bubble.
Thinking that it's about the tool, method, technique, makes us narrow minded and ignorant on a low level of consciousness. Instead, we'd better see the Bigger Picture.
See the Bigger Picture
It’s all a matter of perspective when a tool, method or technique is used.
We always need to be aware of the Bigger Picture when a tool is used;
- Is the rider very task and goal oriented or more horse oriented, putting the needs of the horse first?
- What's the emotional state of the rider? Does he feel angry, defiant, hurt, worried, stressed? Or does he feel grateful, peaceful, playful and helpful?
- What kind of training style is the rider using? Is he very 'bossy' or is he more a 'coach' for his horse?
- Does the rider use the tool with feel and in an organical way, or does the rider use it in a technical, mechanical way?
- Is the rider not losing sight of the essence in horse training?
- What is the quality of the relationship between rider and horse? We use tools to establish a link between ourselves and our horses, but before any tool is used, there has to be already a bond between the rider and the horse.
We need to keep more variables in mind when 'judging' a tool. Because it's not about the tool, it's about how the tool is used in the Bigger Picture.
Learn how to use a tool
Applying an 'avoidance' strategy is an option if we can't use a tool properly, but learning how to use a tool by setting all variables right, might be a more useful and helpful option.
Because even a cordeo can be horrible to a horse when we pull on it all the time.
And people can turn halters into instruments of pain if they really want to.
And we could easily use reins to smack a horse around.
And a wrongly timed clicker can be harmful to a horse.
So we might as well avoid these tools too.
Instead of forbidding certain tools, we can also learn how to use the tool, and most importantly, how to use our energy properly when using the tools.
Tools are an extension of your thoughts and energy
Tools are not only an extension of our physical, but also of our mental and emotional part.
We can have loose reins but the horse can feel emotional stress through the rein.
Tools are only an extension of us and our visualization and our energy.
Again: They don’t become energy until we touch it.
So we need to learn to master our thoughts, energy and emotions.
Master your Thoughts, Emotions and Energy
It's always the human behind the tool, therefore we should never use any tool if we are tense, anxious, angry or frustrated.
- to master our emotions and to be always calm, centered, grounded and relaxed.
- to master our timing and dosing of our aids when dealing with horses.
- to master your Meaning >>
- to master your Energy >>
- to master your Level of Consciousness >>
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- How to avoid the training pitfalls that I’ve fallen into, and almost every rider falls into, and which make training your horse ten times harder!
- How to teach your horse a new exercise in a horse-friendly and stress-free way.
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- Six simple keys to make horse training and riding easy, no matter what discipline you’re in, and no matter what breed or age!
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