Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Houston, We have a problem--- horse!

Houston, We Have A Problem, Photo Courtesy Youtube
This is the 1st article in my new series on common horse behaviour problems and how to address them. I've compiled some research and interpreted it based on my own experience. I hope it makes for interesting reading for you.

I wanted to start off the series with an article on human personalities and then horse personalities. 

 Houston, We Have A Problem - Apollo 13, a 1995 movie starring Tom Hanks where a serious, life threatening problem aboard the spacecraft is dealt with using team work, communication and fast problem solving! (Photo courtesy YouTube channel

Horse behaviour problems are so common these days. Were they always? What do you think?  I wanted to do this series because I wanted to help the many people who come to me for help with their horse respect problems. Most, if not all of these horses are so disrespectful that they've become somewhat dangerous or are headed that way. 

Frankly,  I've run into human personalities (horse handlers/riders)  who have stumped me with their ideas, and thoughts on how to handle their horse's behaviour problems.  I was frustrated. I researched.

I'm going to use a real horse person named Lisa, and her horse Sissy as we describe their problems and how to help them. Let's explore this together, shall we?  I'm using real names as I don't know this person or horse at all, personally, but rather have access to their problems by permission as you will see as we go along. Maybe, I should call the horse Apollo. I think I will.

A Human's Real Self or True Self - Pete Gerlach, MSW

Veteran Family Systems Therapist, Pete Gerlach, at, has an excellent set of videos on human personalities, commonly referred to as your True Self. What's interesting, is the other personas that people take on which he calls subselves. They are parts of ourselves - our inner family. There is one such self called the False Self or pseudo self.  I think I've run into other people's various false selves several times such as the procrastinator, the critic, the minimizer. “This horse isn’t dangerous… it’s just a small issue.” Have you seen the movie Buck? In the movie, Buck Brannamen determines that a stallion is very disrespectfully dangerous towards people and he, with all his experience and knowledge, can’t fix the horse. He tells the owner, in no uncertain terms, that she was part (if not all) of the problem. How sad for all. The horse needs to be put down.

I encourage you to watch Pete Gerlach's videos as they are quite informative. He also has an online course to learn about yourself - to see if you have a false self, if you're interested. (Photo courtesy I think it's often times easier to look at ourselves through the eyes of the horse. That's what these articles will do.

Also, what part of the horse's problem is the handler's fault? And what to do about it. Could it be that there's a connection?  What to you think? Let's explore that kindly in more articles.

One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. He said, "My son, the battle is between two "wolves" inside us all.
One is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, worry, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.
The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, humor, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.

The grandson thought for a minute and then asked his grandfather: "Which wolf wins?"

The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."

Back to the horse. Horse Behaviour has been studied for a long time. Wikipedia has a good introduction. I'd love to hear from you if you're interested in this as it's the other field of interest besides horse training which I took for my B.Sc. in Equine Sciences. I've been doing research and wanted to share my conclusions based on my own experience as well.

Back to the handler. Horse handlers are often fearful of punishing their horses incorrectly, (I will do an article on punishment also), often times not asserting themselves when they need to.  I call them the permanently passive people.

In my next article, I will talk about horse personalities using Apollo as our horse and Lisa, the horse handler. I will also state opinions from 2 of the best horsemanship people trainers, Clinton Anderson and Pat Parelli. 

In the meantime, I'd love to hear from you! I'm here to help.

Putting my spin on personalities.
@KISS Reiners

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