I once made the mistake of buying a piece of equipment from the website of a world renowned “Natural” Horsemanship ‘guru’. I say mistake because once they have your information, they won’t stop trying to convert you. I choose not to use the man’s name because my intent is not to start a war with his followers (but at least you know the gender now). If his followers are devout enough, they may likely recognize some of his language – so be it. But in this post my intent is more to utilize his language to stir others to scrutinize more closely the nonsense he and his ilk often spout.
I took a much needed sanity break. My inspiration for these posts comes from two main sources – my own little herd and what is going on in the horseworld at large. As the year wound down, I found that I had little time for the former, and little patience for the latter. So, I took a step back, focused on what I needed to, and tried to piece together where I go from here. The first, and most obvious, adjustment that I had to make was to my goals.
My latest reading venture is Gustav Steinbrecht’s The Gymnasium of the Horse. It is often cited by those who follow classical training methods, but this is my first dive into it. Written before the turn of the twentieth century, it is both dated (the section on spur use is frightening) and “current”. This particular passage exhibits the latter, as well as being a rather poetic tribute to the animals we have shared a history with.
Earlier this summer, science had another shining moment of “discovering” something many of us have known for a long time – horses talk to us! I don’t mean to be flippant about science – I really like science! But animal emotions, cognition, and their relationships with us are areas for which science has long had a blind spot. Rather than “discoveries” these really should just be handled as “proof” of what animal lovers have known (but been told they “can’t know”) probably for as long as we’ve had relationships with animals!
The main findings of the study is that horses attempt to communicate with humans – and that they cease those attempts if they are ignored for too long. No one is a better example of both of these points that our Coffee!