I have had horses all my life and I always had a passion for the difficult ones, the misunderstood ones and the ones that where hard to train. I enjoyed horses with a lot of temperament and character - and I found great joy in connecting with them and motivating them to trust and develop.
This connection motivated me to study equine behavior and biomechanics. These two are so linked together and if you understand these two and how to connect this with your own behavior and energy you will most likely succeed in training and understanding horses.
Regardless of your discipline this human - horse interaction will be the key point for your horses welfare, and your own development. To form a positive relationship between a horse and their partner it must consist of trust, cooperation and attentiveness. In this regard I do not refer to common training techniques as positive and negative reinforcement, and learned systematic behavior, but a kind of third language, neither fully human nor fully equine. But more of a embodied language system - a way of communicating that's reliant on touch, emotional connection, energy and becoming attuned to physical movements.
I recognize horses as sensitive, decision-making beings. Equitation equals performing complicated physical and mental tasks for the horse while astride their backs.
Equitation involves melding of bodies, with humans and horses developing a high level of bodily control and sensitivity. It's an empathetic physical dialogue, ( at least it should be), with the goal of having two bodies operate as a single unit.
Synchronicity between humans and horses doesn't come easy, but this sensation is what we call "harmony" in the sport - and it is the ultimate goal. This harmony should exist in all parts of your training and handling - and a key point is understanding your horse and it's personality. The human - horse interaction is quite delicate and it requires a lot of self awareness and letting go of your ego. The interaction involves making yourself vulnerable and exposing yourself to doubt, self-criticism and in some cases blaming the horse for the lack of communication and understanding.
When it comes to creativity, analysis and self-reflection, people tend to give a lot of weight to words and thoughts. This human - horse connection can help develop a different kind of knowledge, one rooted in the body and your energy. In this process, it can help you to learn a lot about yourself; and this is a big reason why the human - horse relationship is such a good character developer.
These elements are a key factor in my training and handling philosophy and the first step in all interactions with horses. By being self aware of your energy and your effect of the horse you are more likely to succeed in whatever goal you have for you and your horse. This awareness is the element you see when you have a glance at a person that seems to have the magic touch with the horses. I am not close to mastering it, but i experience it to be one of my key motivations for training horses.
This idea transfers into riding when you put your feet in the stirrup and starts schooling your horse - and for every ride you make you are either schooling or un-schooling your horse. And regarding rehabilitating behavior problems and locomotive problems I truly believe this is key.
How could your horse trust you to change it's learned pattern if you are not self aware yourself?