When you stop and think about it, isn’t it amazing what our horses do for us?
As humans, we have the advantage of knowing what’s ahead of us. Whether it’s learning our dressage test before we trot down the centreline, walking our course, or simply knowing our hacking route or what we are planning to do in the arena that day.
Our horses only ever know what’s happening right now, in the present.
Every day, they willingly follow us from the stable, from their field, with no or little knowledge of what’s about to come next.
They follow us into big metal boxes, not sure of where they’ll be when we open the box next.
They follow our guidance and instructions, going where we ask them to go, never knowing where we’ll ask them to go next.
They let us point them at jumps, sometimes ones they’ve never seen before, and they take them on, waiting for us to tell them which one is next.
They let us clip a lead rope onto their headcollar, and they follow us to wherever it is we plan to take them – the field, the washbay, to the farrier, or somewhere they’ve never been before.
Every day, our horses take our lead, go where we ask them to or follow us without question, not knowing what’s about to come next, and trusting us to make those decisions for both of us.
Sometimes, they will feel unsure, pause or ask questions. It is our job to understand them, reassure them, make them feel safe, and give them the time they need to assess and trust our guidance. To acknowledge that we are asking them to follow our lead, do something new or sometimes even to help us because we don’t know what to do.
So next time your horse is unsure or takes a pause, reassure them. Give them confidence. Remind them they can trust you.
Don’t forget to thank them when they take you around that course, halt at X, or get you home safe after your hack.
Thank them for trusting you. For following you. For taking care of you.
Because when you think about what they do for us, our horses are pretty amazing.