Updated: Jan 9
The work Bob has done, and continues to do, with horses ('problem' horses in particular) is nothing short of awe-inspiring. Ok I know I have to say that because I'm married to the guy - but it really is true.
Bob is the first person I met, in 15 years of equestrianism, who really made sense out of what we're doing with the horses. Or in most cases, what we're trying to do with the horses. The level to which we need to communicate with these animals is exquisite, not only to get a job done, but to get a job done safely. Let's face it, when we boil it down we're really just riding a chunky, flighty deer. So if you could teach your horse, a prey creature running on flight, in such a manner that you would have a mutual understanding of how neither of you is going to hurt the other, why wouldn't you?
It's surprising how easily, almost casually, most folks will build the road blocks against taking a step in the horses direction. Why should I? Me human, them horse. The issue with this is that, we need the horses to be ok with this crazy human world we have created. And, for the most part, they couldn't care less about our human stuff and would actually just like some peace and quiet.
So rather than getting in a fight with a half ton creature that could kick your lights out in a flash, why not treat them as a student. You are there to teach them they are ok and can find peace even with crazy human stuff happening. This is the basic concept behind the release reward technique Bob largely employs with the horses.
So how best to teach a student who doesn't speak your language? Taking a step in their direction, to understand how their mind works - just a little even - can be a game changer.
But this requires empathy and compassion, the ability to honestly see where your horses' behaviour is his own and where he is simply a reflection of you, to withhold your judgement and forgive quickly, let alone hold a grudge. It requires an unconditional love of these animals in a way that you are, at the very least, understanding of their basic nature, and accepting that it may not always be perfect to your human standards.
These are not easy things for the ego to handle. Most folks are too busy, they simply don't have the time to put in to their relationship with their horse. Despite the obvious benefits Bob can show you, right in front of your eyes, in just five minutes with a horse.
This is the unfortunate experience we've mostly had so far in the equestrian world. This is why we've largely come away from lessons.
Don't get me wrong, the odd client who gets on board with the time and effort horsemanship and groundwork training takes is certainly reaping the many rewards, and we love playing our part in that. But unless you're one of those minority willing to put in the work and time to have the horsemanship techniques work for you, we recommend you look elsewhere for lessons.
You've probably already figured out that the RE in our logo stands for Release Equine. While we've moved away from much of the equestrian work, it is where we began, and even how we met. This is the logo we had designed to work under originally, and the simple fact is we love it. For us, it represents not only the journey, but also where the journey could take you. We've made some changes, sure, but the logo's here to stay.