Transforming Horse Training: Building Partnership and Mutual Respect #78

#debono moves #horsehumanconnection horse Jun 20, 2024


What if horse training could be more about partnership and mutual respect than following rigid regimes?

On this episode of the Easier Movement, Happier Horses podcast, Mary Debono uncovers the transformative approach of facilitating learning opportunities for your horse. By focusing on what your horse already finds easy and gently expanding on that, you can build a cooperative and enjoyable training experience.

Mary emphasizes the importance of compassionate curiosity, an attitude that fosters creative problem-solving and strengthens the bond between you and your equine partner.

Join us as we explore how to integrate your values into your horse training, whether you're riding, doing groundwork, or engaging in hands-on exercises. Mary shares insights from her Move With Your Horse program, revealing how to gradually and thoughtfully expand your horse's capabilities.

This episode promises to shift your perspective on training, making it a joyful and enriching process for both you and your horse. Tune in and discover how to create a harmonious and responsive partnership by embracing curiosity and patience in your interactions.

Ready to embark on this transformative journey?
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Remember, you and your horse deserve to feel great. Together!


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All information is for general educational purposes ONLY and doesn't constitute medical or veterinary advice.  


Hi. Would you like to know some simple ways that you can help your riding and training your horse to be more aligned with your values, you know, to have it be more of a partnership and to respect and understand that it's a learning process for both of you? Well, in case we're meeting for the first time, my name is Mary DiBono, and this is the easier movement, happier Horses podcast.

Yeah. And it's so interesting to me, this whole idea of how we teach horses. So, you know, people call it training, and that's fine. I mean, I often use the word training as well, but I prefer to think of it as teaching rather than training, because just think about that. When you think of training, it's like, I have to do this. It's like you're expecting the animal, horse, dog, whoever, to be, quote unquote trained to do what you're asking if you think instead about teaching.

Right. Providing the opportunity for the horse to learn something that has a whole different flavor to it, doesn't it? It's very different. There's more autonomy. There's more choice involved with that. It's more of a partnership rather than a slave master relationship. So I do like that. Again, you'll hear me say training, but I prefer to think of it as teaching, and even more. More so to think of.

I'm there to facilitate the horse learning something. Okay, so how do we do that? One of the things we do is we discover what's easy for the horse, what's already easy, and we build on that. So this is true, by the way, whether you're riding your horse, whether you're doing groundwork, you're actually in a training mode, or if you're doing the hands on work that I teach, what we're doing is we're finding what's easy and building on that.

And, of course, my move with your horse program goes into great detail about how then you can expand on what you find. Like, in other words, just finding what's easy is great, but that alone isn't usually enough. But the idea is the expansion of that is what then gives that the power, and the horse then can find other things easy. So, for example, if you. If you know that your.

You've experienced that your horse bends more easily to the left, it's not a matter of just doing that over and over again. But it's in the way I teach it. You use your hands, and you help the horse do that really well, bending to the left. Have them do it in a way that the whole body participates. So there's not excess strain on any one structure. And then you gradually introduce the new options, but it has to be done very gradually, very subtly, so that you can keep the nervous system feeling reassured that this is safe, this is good.

This is something you can do. And again, because it's a learning experience for the horse, the horse will then discover that they can bend to the right, for example. So it's pretty cool. So that is something that you can think about whenever you're doing any type of training or interactions with your horse. What does my horse already do? Easily, and how can I expand on that? How can I figure out how to build on that?

How I could come back to that, you know, and then keep expanding their world. Okay. It's really creative. It's really fun when you think like that. It really makes it playful, creative, and you have to really use your curiosity. You have to be curious about it. Right. Which brings me to another point. When we're thinking about our values, again, if we're serious about this idea of a partnership, embracing what I call compassionate curiosity, which is curiosity without any sense of judgment, when you're curious about things with your horse, it's a whole different.

You bring a whole different attitude than if you're just, oh, they're not doing this the right way. I need more of this. I need more impulsion. I need this. I need that. Why is my horse so stiff? I need to. That's so different. Right. But if you're curious, well, why is my horse responding this way? Then it's like, well, now your brain will look for solutions. Well, how can I better ask?

Like, maybe there's a different way I can ask. Maybe there's a different way I can support my horse. Maybe I need to step back from what I'm doing. Maybe it's. I'm over facing my horse. You know? Maybe we need to approach this from a different angle. Okay. So it's really, really important. And just, again, like, in my hands on work, setting up the environment to be successful for you and your horse is so important.

So that means, you know, making sure that your horse's needs are met, that the horse isn't. Isn't hungry, that your horse isn't too distracted, that, you know, that you're in a place, both physically and emotionally, to be engaging and learning together. Okay? And this is also true for you, like, set yourself up for success, because what you bring to the table is so important, so really, really, really important thing.

The other thing that I often say, this is one of my favorite questions is how can this feel easier when you think like that? Like, how can it feel easier? That is going to align with a sense of, you know, care for your horse, prioritizing your relationship with your horse. And it'll also, I have to add, make it easier to do the things you want to do. Okay?

So you will get the benefits. It's not about saying, oh, you can't go after that dream you have or that goal you have with your horse. But it's like, how can it feel easier? How can it feel lighter? How can it feel more like a partnership? Okay, so these are some important questions, I think, to ask yourself as you're interacting with your horses, you know, and to really, truly listen and to listen to your horse.

I teach this a lot about listening with your hands, listening with your ears, like literally listening, listening with your eyes, you know, noticing, sensing, sensing, sensing your gut feelings, etcetera. It's all so important. And that all can play a role then in how you train your horse, how you ride your horse. So think about, also, another thing I often think about is what is the ultimate feeling you want when you're with your horse?

Is it excitement? Is it happiness? You know, what, what is the ultimate feeling you want? And then you can kind of work backwards from there, like reverse engineer the situation. Because almost anything, you know, it can maybe fulfill those feelings, can provide those feelings if it's approached in a particular way. Because we all know that there's times when we have to adjust our own agenda based on what's good for our horse.

And, you know, we might be disappointed. But if we think about what our ultimate feeling is, like, what, what do we want out of this? Right? You can then figure out how you can get there, how you can get to that feeling, even though you've had to adjust what you're doing with your horse. Okay, so maybe, for example, your dream was to have your horse be a show jumper, right?

To jump the big fences, to gallop at speed and jump the big fences. But maybe something happened, either physically or emotionally, where that wasn't going to be working for your horse anymore. Maybe there was some kind of structural issue with your horse that you discovered that's painful for your horse. Or again, an injury or something happened or your horse mentally maybe wasn't suited for that. It's pretty intense work.

So how can you adjust your own expectations and how can you be okay with that? Right? So again, think of the feeling you would get from the activity. So again, if you wanted to be a high level competitor. What is that ultimate feeling you want from achieving that, from doing that, having those experiences? And then can you reverse engineer that and get to it from a different way?

Maybe you have to do something very different with your horse, but you can still, almost all the time, you can still get to the feeling, and then it will be aligned with your values. So again, these are just some things to think about, that you're in a true partnership with your horse and you're discovering how things can feel easier, more joyful, more fun for both of you. I mean, isn't that what it's all about?

So let me know what you're dealing with, and I would love to maybe be able to do a podcast about it or help you out in some other way. You can always reach [email protected]. and if you're interested in our move with your horse program, we are starting up again in a few weeks. So actually beginning of August. So this is coming out in June, but beginning of August.

But you can always join my wait list because there's perks of being on the wait list. Okay? You get the best deals, you get all kinds of good stuff. So go to joinhorse. That's all one word, all lowercase, and that link will be in wherever you're listening or watching this. So don't worry about writing it down if you're out there driving your truck, picking up more hay or whatever you're doing.

So thank you so much for joining me. I really appreciate you and I love sharing this work, and I look forward to talking to you again soon. Bye for now.