Amongst horse people, one of the fastest ways to raise hackles or hostilities is to call someone a “surface worker.” It’s just one of those things that you don’t do in polite company. After all, one of the reasons people are drawn to horses is to enjoy a real and deep connection. To call them a “surface worker” is to accuse them of putting on a a circus act. Certainly, the relationship may look real and geniune; but it's not. It's not nothing but an act and fraud.
Given how the word is used and understood, I find it extremely ironic that so few people understand that “surface work” and it’s attendant ideas of conditioned response, sensitization, desensitization and instinct are actually very important to horse training. If you want to have any type of real relationship or meaningful communication, you need to do a lot of very tedious surface work to get there.
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