Horsey Therapist

Friday, July 14, 2006

The clinic starts...

The clinic started with dinner served by our hosts, Vic Thomas and Linda Bertani (, on Sunday evening before the first week got underway.

After dinner, we got Harry talking after he commented that he wished he could give people what he sees they need in order to succeed, but he can't. I wish he could give it to us, too!

Some factors involved in success with horses at his level according to my notes are:

Physical ability
Understanding of horses
Seeing the world through their eyes
Being present to help them -- not thinking about yesterday or tomorrow or even what happened three minutes ago

Monday morning our after-breakfast-chat included Harry responding to a question I asked:

What does it take to be a good horseperson, especially regarding the role of "leader" versus "dominator"? What makes it hard for some folks to lead without dominating, to use firmness without emotion? (This second question he answered in various ways later during the week.)

Some notes I took from Harry's response:

The social director is not the leader. The social director of the herd tells everybody what to do and where to stand, etc. Each horse has different leadership qualities from birth. One may be born with strong leadership qualities, one may have less. We have top do things differently with each horse. A leader horse is different from a more dominant horse. The lead horse is the one the other horses will follow to water for example.

In a natural setting, a mare is the leader. A stallion can be dominant like by driving the herd away from another stallion.

Most horses want to know: what, when, and where. Things are good when those are clear to the horse.

The unnatural ways we keep horses makes them act differently.


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