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Franklin Levinson's

Horse Help Center

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Make requests, not orders

Hello Mr Levinson,

My name is Debbie and I'm from Greece.

I visited your page, but I still have some questions about horses, so I would be pleased if you could help me with your experience.

One friend of mine has a horse, female, about 8 years old and from Germany. The horse is very dirty, and in general speaking, without any carry. Also it doesn't want any equipment on it, and it doesn't follow any orders from people as well. Although I've sit on it 3-4 times, without equipment, and it was calm. The last time, it turned it's head to my right leg and smelled it.

My question is, how can I make it follow orders again, after 4-5 years, and make it want the equipments again?

Thank you for your time, and I'm looking forward for your advices.

Hi Debbie,

Just for your info, I am based on Corfu and there most of the year. I am currently teaching in Australia until the end of March. I return to Greece in May. I am available to travel to train all around Greece and do a lot.

I never order horses, nor do I expect them to follow orders. I make appropriate, precise and accurate requests and I reward all effort they make to comply with my requests by offering the horse some peace by stopping the request the instant they even try to comply. So, if you are looking for obedience I am not the one to ask about that.

I do not expect a horse to be a soldier or a slave. I do not know what you mean by a "dirty" horse. Horses resist anything because of fear or pain (any pain creates fear as well). Perhaps the horse is in pain from the equipment being inappropriate, doesn't fit well or is in pain from it's back being out of line. Or because when it has worn the equipment in the past it has either hurt the horse when it is ridden, or it was ridden so poorly and abusively, that it has learned it does not want to be ridden due to past unpleasantness (heavy hands, improper seat, poor or abusive use or hands or legs or feet with spurs). Perhaps, the work schedule was too much or somehow improper. Also, if the horse has not had its mouth checked for teeth problems, this would cause the behavior you are seeing. Regular equine dental care is often neglected in Greece and other countries too.

You will not make the horse do anything from force. You can, however, begin to develop some trust with the horse so that it will try to comply with your requests. Trust is developed first from your compassion for the horse. Second by you gaining some actual and realistic wisdom of horses (they are not slaves and you are not the boss). Next by developed skills as a fine, sensitive and appropriate rider and horse handler (on the ground). And finally, the most important aspect of good horsemanship, the development of trust between horse and human. This is done by compassion, kindness, good learned and practiced skills, acquired wisdom of the real nature of horses and lastly, excellent leadership of the dance between horse and human.

Please read more on my website. There is a lot of information available for free regarding the real nature of horses and how to train, ride and handle them. Horses are meant to be 'partnered' with and not dominated. Many humans go to force and dominance to get what they want from a horse. This sort of attitude about horses always always creates fear and resistance from and within the horse. A horse can become a loyal and trusting partner with a human who has the right attitude, skill and compassion for the horse. For a horse there is only fear or trust (that it is safe and will not be harmed or forced into something). It is a 'prey' animal. It is eaten by predators. Do you wish to have a horse think you are a predator or its friend who wishes to have the animal trust it is safe with you? This is a question I strongly suggest you ask yourself. If you chose the path of force, a horse will never partner with you in the dance of movement and will always show resistance to complying with any requests you make of it. If you chose the path of compassion and offering peace and skillful/appropriate communication to the animal, it will attempt to do all you ask willingly and totally accept you as it wonderful leader, which is what it is really looking for all the time. It is your choice. Consider as a wonderful goal and agenda with a horse the development of trust. If you go for these things first and foremost, all else you request from a horse will come along much easier and faster. Consider that if you would not want to be forced or dominated, neither would your horse. The Golden Rule applies not only to humans, but to animals as well.

Sincerely, Franklin

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