Creating Comfort


We have a philosophy at HHT that we can form more of a partnership with a horse if we make them feel more comfortable in our presence. Then the partnership is both the doorway, and the house, of our training endeavors.


It's a bit like the difference between making a cake and buying one. It seems like buying one is a much better idea, it is more convenient and there is more choice.. we can have it right now after all. But really, the homemade one is enjoyable to cook, it is something we have created ourselves, with our own resourcefulness. It is an experience, and in the end it will (usually) taste much better and be healthier because the ingredients were fresh and simple.


We'd like to describe some of the ways you can make horses comfortable and therefore willing to work. It is a positive circle, when they are feeling better in themselves, they are more willing to work with us, and that makes them more comfortable again, and so on. There isn't really a distinction between 'making them comfortable' and 'training'. In fact it is all the same thing.

Some of the ways we can create comfort with horses:

* TRUST our horses. It is important to make the first step, because you are asking the horse to work with you, not the other way round. If you trust them to be careful of you and to listen to you, then they will feel safer, because you are believing in them and resonating with their responsible side. Then sooner or later, usually sooner, they will trust you.

* LISTEN to them. This means 'be' with them in each moment, so it's like the two of you perceiving the world together. If you can do that you start to develop your sensitivity to how they feel in each moment. For example, what is a little bit of reluctance that you could encourage them through, and what is a lot of pain that you have to acknowledge and address. The line between those too is finer than a lot of us imagine.

* BALANCE them. You can only do this by balancing yourself, on the ground or in the saddle. The root of most discomfort in working horses not caused by equipment or unrelated physical problems, is lack of balance. If your postural influence can balance a horse's body then you are giving them the greatest feeling of security they can experience with a human.

* SOFTEN them. The above points are like the structure of your partnership, like the bricks and the wooden beams and the concrete. This one is the 'glue' which sticks it all together. It is the way in which you physically contact a horse. Make sure that all of your contact is 'softening' and not hardening. For example massaging leg, not jabbing spurs, tapping/stroking whip not stinging/lashing, gentle voice not harsh words and supple, adhesive seat, not stiff and bouncing...

These are just some examples. The joy of spending time with horses is finding your own language of comfort. There are no rules other than to make the horse feel better in themselves, not worse. That might sometimes mean being firm, and supporting some resistance until it softens, but there is supporting (comfortable) firmness and forcing firmness. You have to seek our the difference. Only you can know in your own heart what your intention is, and how you are contacting your horse.


The pages on HHT are so wide-ranging and interrelated that we strongly recommend you look at the site plan to find other subjects that may interest you.

New! Comments

Anything to say about this page? Leave your comment in the box below.



New from HHT!

AudioRide is a series of exercises designed to listen to while you ride.

Audio descriptions guide you through each step of developing a balanced, dynamic connection with the horse through your position.

This truly innovative learning tool gives you a whole new way of being guided in your riding, in a calm, clear, step-by-step way.

Free Download! Introductory Exercise: Riding in the Now

Click here for full details




The Gymnastic Rider eBook

Now available exclusively from HHT!

A unique, comprehensive guide to practical rider biomechanics. This professionally produced eBook takes the rider through the process of developing their body in the specific way that brings the horse's movement into harmony and balance, without force and constraint. Click here for full details, and to download the 15-page introduction to the book for free.





Join the Happy Horse Training group on Facebook!

See and share topical info, news and photo's, and take part in lively discussions.

Click here to go to the HHT group (make sure you log into fb first) and then click on the 'join' button at the top of the page.




Join the Whole Horse Newsletter!

HHT's free monthly newsletter giving you wide-ranging and intelligent insights into holistic horsemanship.
Just enter your details below to join.

Enter Your E-mail Address
Enter Your First Name (optional)
Then

Don't worry — your e-mail address is totally secure.
I promise to use it only to send you the whole horse newsletter.

Free bonus on the riding position with all new subscriptions: Ten Top Tips To Instantly Improve Your Connection With Your Horse.

Click here to see back issues of The Whole Horse newsletter




Train Your Horse
The Holistic Way

How To Train A Horse Without Force is a unique guide to training horses through energetic connection and gymnastic training. Part 1 covers everything on the ground, from handling to the lungeing technique that develops strength, straightness and engagement. Comes with a free eBook supplement on Horse Trauma.
Click here for more details.

"As a student of Zen Buddhism for nearly three decades, I've often wondered when someone was going to write the book on Zen and the art of horsemanship, and I think that your emphasis on mindfulness and energy connection gets right at the heart of the matter."

- Prof. Teresa Lloyd, U.S.




Do You Have
A Horse Story
To Share On HHT?


So many people have been through wonderful experiences with horses, whether in training or otherwise. If you've made a change in a horse's life - or one has made a change in yours - tell us about it here.





Learn The Natural Barefoot Trim - The Simple Way

The Simple Seven-Step Natural Trim is a comprehensive step-by-step guide to a cutting-edge barefoot trim. Click here to find out more.



What people say about HHT:


"The riding instruction is outstanding, if instructors in the UK taught this way there would be a lot of happy riders and horses."


"The riding tuition exceeded my hopes and expectations by a long way; giving me an exciting new facet to horsemanship which is lighter. more subtle, more elegant and more meaningful. It is as if a new door has opened bringing more sunlight and air."


"My goodness - what a change has taken place in my riding. I think that I'm starting to sit 'into' the horse rather than on top of him. I felt my horse's movements in a way that has almost never happened before"


Click on Testimonials for more