The Irrational Horse and the Rational Human

“If the world was truly a rational place, men would ride sidesaddle.”

~ Rita Mae Brown

Oh dear… the rider seems to have lost her head…

People sometimes complain about how irrational horses are. I’ve noticed it’s often when they can’t get a horse to do something, and feel the need to justify the rough handling they have resorted to in frustration.

Apparently you can tell who the completely rational being is in this sort of human-horse pairing; they’re the little one who’s trying to force the big one to do something BECAUSE it doesn’t understand… Strange when it’s put like that isn’t it…. the little one tries to force the big one to do something, because who doesn’t understand…?

If you truly believe that the horse isn’t doing what you want because it can’t think rationally, then please realise that getting rougher with the horse isn’t going to magically make it understand what you want.

The ability or otherwise of horses to think rationally is too large a subject to fit in this post, so that’s a matter for another time. For now let’s focus on how we can tone down the irrational stuff in training sessions – from both horses and humans…

Let’s walk a mile…

If you step into the horse’s shoes (or bare feet) for a moment, I’m sure you will find more similarities than differences between the way a horse reacts to a confusing training session, and the way you would react to a confusing training session… We’ll put it in human terms that most people can relate to: Continue reading