A different approach.

I worked my girl on my own for a bit the other day. The paddocks have been icy so she hadn’t been running and playing much, so she was full of vinegar and excited to be on the good footing of the indoor arena! She bounced, bucked, and hopped her away around the first few circles - never really hauling on me, just… frolicking at the end of the rope =) Then she settled, head low, into a long stretching trot.

The trainer barged into the arena and came down on me. “I just saw that horse rear like three times!!! And you didn’t spin her, smack her, correct her in any way! I try to help you but you just don’t trust my methods. You’re going to go off on your own and keep coddling this horse and get yourself into a mess!”

And on, and on. Then the sentence that summed up our difference in training style:

“You just stand there WAITING for her to calm down. You have to MAKE her be calm!”

Forced calmness? Through snapping a chain on her nose, smacking her with a rope, hitting her in the face? Doesn’t sound calm at all… defeated maybe. Shut down. Broken. Her profession is to break horses. I want to train mine. I want to negotiate, not dominate. I would chose a horse that might rear up on me or throw a little buck now and then over a horse that’s had the personality beat out of it any day. Such a horse might simply do as it’s told as nothing it isn’t told, but if I play my cards right I think my horse will offer me more.