This is the City Slickers deal with Curly. Remember how he would hold up his index finger? And Billy Crystal was so frustrated because he wanted to know what the ONE answer WAS!!!!Dangit!!!?
The one answer is… IT DEPENDS!
I can do something to fix an issue with a horse and tell the person what I’m doing and why. Then, they are in what they perceive to be the same circumstance and think they’re doing what I did and it doesn’t work. WHY? Because it really isn’t the same. While the issue may be the same, the manner in which it is handled isn’t due to differences in the horse’s _____ fill in the blank. His head may be a bit higher and indicate a need for another approach. His body may be in a different position or a fence, rope, person is in a different place. Horse’s eye may be indicating a change in thought or an ear twitched or the neck or ribs are braced. Add about a million or more other possibilities and what you are seeing if probably not what I would see if I was there and doing it.
Not only that, but, if you always do the same thing when an issue pops up, then the right answer isn’t the right answer any more. You must do something different!
Frequently when I’m talking to a potential client and they’re telling me about their issues with horse, what they think they’re telling me isn’t what I know is probably happening according to horse. So, I ask some questions…
to ascertain what is probably so and the person frequently says, “No, you don’t understand.” I’m laughing as I write this, because actually I understand perfectly well. It’s that the person doesn’t understand the situation they’re really in. This is due to missed cues, being unaware of the horse’s intelligence, moods, indicators, etc. And, also due to not having the knowledge or skills to remedy the issue if they do indeed recognize it.
Experience is the answer. But, it helps if you can have an interpreter like me there because trial and error can take 20 years off your life. If you don’t know what you’re looking for, you’ll have a harder, longer time of it.
Also, looking for the experience is part of the answer. Don’t just cobble along not paying attention to what your horse is doing or showing.
When I see something developing with a horse, I’ll ask the owner, “What just happened there?” Most of the time they look at me with a blank face and say, “What, where, what do you mean?”
I would not have asked the question if nothing was happening. But, I don’t just want them to have the answer. I want them to look for the question and find the answer.
There’s always more…