Anyone who has been deemed “good with horses” probably gets asked one particular question at some point: “What do you think that I should do to solve this problem that I and my horse are having?” While I know some who get annoyed or even frustrated by it, by far the majority of the experienced horse people seem to look forward to having their knowledge queried. After all, such a query is as an opportunity to share opinions and insights with an individual who actually wants the input. That doesn’t happen very often.
And more often than not, the more experienced hand is able to offer some insight that might have a positive impact on a horse-human partnership. When that happens, it is a tremendously good outcome. Other times, though, no amount of advice or insight will do anything for the human being or for the animal. There are a lot of reasons for this: the owner might be trying to manage a behavior beyond their ability, or the root causes might have an intractable physical or mental origin.
As a result, every experienced horse person (whether they be a trainer, riding instructor or long-time rider) should keep one particular line in their arsenal of tools. It shouldn’t be used often, but there are circumstances where it is not only warranted, but necessary.
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