Understand to comprehend, comprehend to be understood.
Once an old friend asked me a question:
“What is the first word which comes to your mind when you think of horses?”
I had never made this type of association and my immediate response was:
I did not immediately consider the implications which my answer would have on the future, but the meaning was clear. I could have answered “beauty, elegance, harmony, power, gentleness….” but I didn’t.
Since then we have continuously worked at developing techniques aimed at widening communicative training between man and horse, studying the language and trying to translate it into a grammatical form which followed stable rules i.e. rules which could be explained and understood with the same methodology used to learn foreign languages.
All this, through the years, has led to the confirmation of results achieved by non-coercive instruments in our approach to horses. The transparency of performance must never be illusory and the simplicity of the use of the head collar must never create excuses for failure to perform.
To achieve complex exercises by means of simple instruments and by heightening the communicative ability to its fullest, keeping coercion to a minimum: this is what we do.
The achievement of these results which are clearly not simple, would, in any case, have been impossible if, in addition to the study of the language, we had not added the understanding the dynamics of movement in all the variables of the biodiversity of the species.
Language, though essential, would be useless without the aid of many other elements of what a horse is: always relating it what it does and preparing it to what it must do.
Approximation and oversimplification have always been the enemies against which one must keep one’s guard up. Effective and sincere results our best allies.
We don’t offer shortcuts but something precious which can help man on his evolutionary journey in interaction with the horse. We try to give each of us the necessary instruments to express himself efficiently, elevating his potential to the achievement of a relationship between man and horse based on mutual respect always being mindful of their differences.
Changing man into a horse so it can join the herd is not one of our objectives. Neither is trying to make horses assume human expressions more easily understood by us.
We belong to a historical period in which the overbearing entrance of ethology has brought many good changes. But to believe that a horse is perfectly able to accept an omnivorous biped who pretends to be one of them, risks undermining everything that a good ethological approach could bring. We can never be part of their herd but we can certainly try to understand their means of expression in an attempt to communicate in order to be understood. To respect what one is, either man or horse, without upsetting their or our nature.