When a Horse Has No Spark, No Life, No GO!

When a horse just goes along with no "spark", no life, no impulsion and you have to keep asking and keep asking... and it gets frustrating because you know there is so much more in your horse.

When a horse just goes along with no "spark", no life, no impulsion and you have to keep asking and keep asking... and it gets frustrating because you know there is so much more in your horse.

In this particular case, Ann is a trainer and has achieved success with other horses. She came to the clinic with this horse because she knew how much more she had in her but was not offering and had found that she didn't respond well to pressure. In fact she had developed a way of going that looked like she was giving about 2/3rds of what she had, while anticipating the next resistance she was prepared to give in response to the next request (in this case, she just seemed indifferent to Ann's requests). 

What had caused this? This beautiful mare was no longer connected to her own source of lightness. In her case submission to pressure had also meant chipping away at that connection to her own capacities and desires to do what horses do perfectly: move with athleticism and lightness. I do want to point out there is no suggestion or implication here at all of abuse - simply the normal use of considered, judicious pressure used with the intention of giving the horse an incentive to respond to the request, and an expectation that the horse should respect the person as a result of that person acting a way that models the "Alpha" or boss of the herd.

And that CAN surely work if delivered effectively. BUT there's a problem here if one of your primary goals is to enjoy a good connection with your horse. It's certainly true that most herds have such an "Alpha" leader of the herd - at least when kept as naturally as feasible. However, if the herd is big enough to see the effect of that Alpha behavior, what do you see? Who do the other horses feel comfortable with? Who do they hang out with? Who do they seek out for company? Who do they go on a joint foraging adventure? Who are they concerned about if things aren't quite right? It's not the Alpha - unless the herd is so small there are limited choices. They move when Alpha says move and they have an eye on Alpha to be sure they don't miss the request and risk a nip or kick. They respect Alpha, yes indeed they do. But they don't seek the Feel of Alpha. They seek the Feel of the horse with home they enjoy a true connection.

Ann's deepest desire was for her athlete to come alive, be there, be who she is. Ann is a confident rider and ready for the more powerful movement this horse clearly has in her. She wanted to reach her so she they could enjoy her athletic potential together. And she did not want to keep using the kind of pressure it was taking to get her moving, and more importantly did not want the bigger cost: the light was on but no-one was home, as they say. Her mare went along "fine", in other words. But she felt empty and disinterested and this masked what she had in her, which was the very thing Ann wanted to enjoy the most.

So the first thing to do was to find away to re-connect Ann's mare to her inner source of lightness, of life and to begin expressing it freely again - within the context of a request from a person and "break open" her perception of what a rope attached to her meant and what work meant. We needed to re-reveal what was on the inside of the horse, so we had a Feel connected to her lightness, her spirit. Then we would have something to work with... take a look at the video to see what happened.

 

 

 


Video Tutorial: When a horse has no "Spark", no life, no GO!