Do you take control?

Do you take control?

Do you take control when you have the possibility? Or do you dare not to?

Most of our lives we are told to take control and be in control. Take control of your life. Take control of your future. The general message is to be in control and the same thing goes with horses. Take control of your horse. 

At some points this might be a very good and useful advice, but in other respects it is an advice that will put you in chains. It will be the advice that keeps you from experiencing beautiful, unexpected things. Because how could anything unexpected happen if you always are in control and never surrender to anything or anyone?

When we are with horses we have a tendency to always take control. I am no angel myself and I would never try to convince you otherwise. What makes the difference is if you consciously take control or if you take it simply because you can. Sometimes it is necessary take control of things, but sometimes it is also the hugest relief not to.

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When you are advised to take control of your life it is not always as easy as it is said. It is not very tangible, but with a horse on the other hand? Oh wait – there is a rope! Let me pull it to make my horse move. Oh wait – there is a whip! Let me whip it to make my horse move. Oh wait – there are reins! Let me pull them to make my horse stop again.

It is so hard to resist taking control when you have the possibility to do so. It is like all these tools made to control your horse are calling your name and blinking with christmas lights. They are so welcoming! The funny thing is that is not nearly as satisfying to take control as it is welcoming. Not to me at least. It is like you see this lovely wrapped present and when you open it, it is just a bowl of wet mud. Looking good, but not very satisfying.

It is like if I want to go to the movies with a friend. At first I kindly asks her to go with me, but she says that she doesn’t want to go today. She is tired and has a headache. I become very frustrated because I really want to watch this movie and therefore I take her hand and drag her all the way to the cinema. She complains all the way, but has no option but to follow me. We are now inside the cinema and the movie has started. She is really angry with me, but also tired and all I see is that she really doesn’t want to be there with me. The movie ends and we go home.

Now I should be super happy, right? I mean – we went to the movies as I wanted? My guess is that I will feel pretty bad either way. I got what I wanted, but it was not nearly as much fun as I wanted it to be. Why not? Because I took control simply because I could, but as a result my friend became really upset with me and did not at all enjoy our night out.

Not to take control means that you dare to hear a ‘no’ from horse. Not to take control means that you dare to be open for something unexpected with or from your horse. Not to take control means that you create space to communicate with your horse instead of restraining him.

No one says it is all or nothing, but you might be surprised if you dare to not take control once in a while just because you can.

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4 thoughts on “Do you take control?”

  • I am totally with you. I think you could say ‘to find the right middle’. I do try to find the ‘right middle’ in training my horse. Often I think that I would rather ask her everything and if she doesn’t want to she doesn’t have to. But she is a tinker, therefore she is extremely smart and she notices everything, especially how she can not do things… As I have to decide if I want to control her every time she does something that could be dangerous for other people or me, or let her do things and she will get better with time, it’s a difficult subject. Thank you for writing about this topic, sometimes a little push is needed to think about the ways to train your horse!

    • Thank you so much for your lovely feedback! Of course you have to figure out a balance that works for both of you, but I thought it was worth a second thought how that balance CAN be for many of us. It has become so much of a standard to control every move of your horse that many people doesn’t allow space or opinions from the horse 🙂 I am honoured that it could bring you a little extra thoughts and ideas!

  • Absolutely georgeus Blogpost, Sophie! How can a girl your age can be so full of wisdom?! I absolutely agree with you. My gelding is really high positioned in herd, he is also showing me this sometimes, so I have to take control more often then I like. But I also do recognize me often taking control even if I don’t have to. That’s when he gets even wilder, because I am forcing him and do not leave him enough space. The more I realise it, the more I let go of it and the more he will get calm and respectful to me. But I also see people that do not control and do not lead, but also don’t speak to their horse in the right way. I think this is very bad too, because it can even get dangerous, if such a big animal can’t be controlled in a way of showing him to be respectful to humans. A horse controlled only by whip and thorns (not that I never use it) shows often more disrespect than a horse “controlled” by bodylanguage. It is also not as happy and innerly calm, because it causes a lot of stress to the horse.

    Sorry for my bad English, haven’t spoken and written since about three years now. Coulden’t bring my thaughts into words without writing a novell. I hope you can follow them.

    Greetings from Germany!
    Love, Nadine

    • Oh wow – thank you so much, Nadine! It is so amazing to hear about your own experiences with you boy and how he responds to you depending on the amount of control you take. I think that is a great example of what I am talking about and I really wish more people would allow themselves to experience the same thing! As I also wrote I agree with you that it doesn’t have to be ‘all or nothing’. Of course you need to sometimes tell your horse ‘no’ just like you do with any other being. What I am more interested is to actually see people dare to do it the other way around too and allow the HORSE to say ‘no’. That is when it all becomes very exciting and the horse at some point realises that he has a voice too 😉

      I can only thank you a thousand times for your heart warming and kind words. Not to mention your beautiful experience! THANK YOU <3

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