There Can be no Obedience without the Corresponding Freedom to Disobey: Guest Post by Robin Shen
By Troxel product ambassador: Robin Shen
Robin shares concepts of Enlightened Horsemanship (http://www.robinshen.com/) as taught by Robin Shen and shared by those in pursuit of a deeper relationship with our best friend.
In keeping with the goal of partnership, the use of equipment should be focused on the development of a better relationship and better communication. Ironically, this will not only be more enjoyable for both horse and rider, it will also be substantially safer. It is no secret that the vast majority of injuries associated with horses, whether to the horse, or to the rider, are directly proportional to the level of restraint applied to the horse. This is revealed by the fact that whenever people talk about an equine related injury, it almost always involves a lead rope, tying, hitching, cross ties, trailers, a stall or some other form of restraint.
It is clear that an animal whose survival depends on his ability to flee is most dangerous to itself and to others when it is restrained. It is therefore incumbent upon us to provide a horse with as much freedom as possible. But safety is not the only reason we should avoid restraining a horse. The best reason to minimize restraints is to maximize freedom which is very heart of the matter. The relationship you have with your horse should be a partnership. A partnership cannot exist without dialogue. A dialogue cannot exist without honesty, and honesty cannot exist without freedom.
When a horse is restrained, he lacks the freedom to engage in dialogue. All his responses will be forced reactions compelled by the restraints. They will not be the honest responses that reflect the horse’s true state of mind or level of training. Without honesty, the rider is forced to content himself with the illusion of compliance provided by the restraints or equipment. The rider in turn is restrained. Instead of someone who enjoys the freedom of riding a horse, he becomes someone who rides a saddle, and steers a bridle.
Finally, restraints mock the very reason we ride horses. I contend that no child dreamed of riding a horse in little patterns around an arena. He dreamed of the freedom of riding a horse in the wide open spaces. And yet, we expect to get this at the expense of the horse’s freedom. If you will consider the logic of being free while connected to something that is not, you will begin to see the absurdity of it all. After all, if the horse is restrained, how can he carry us to freedom? A well trained horse has self restraint, self discipline, and self carriage. These virtues are meaningless where he is not at liberty to engage in misconduct and where he is reduced to nothing more than a slave, constrained by mechanical devices and an unrelenting hand.
Disclaimer: Guest blog posts are not the opinions and recommendations of Troxel, LLC.