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The Path of the Horse eBook on Kindle takes the reader beyond the Path of the Horse documentary, following Stormy May's path in the years following the release of the movie. Originally released in 2012 and updated in 2016.

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Training secrets revealed (Part 2)

Training Secrets Revealed (Part 2)
by OurHorses

Method #2 
Physical confinement by means of ropes.
Physical confinement by means of ropes.
When we use the term “ropes” we are referring to any device on the horse’s body that effectively creates a small space for the horse to move before she feels pressure or pain at the rope’s attachment points.  This is the same principle as a dog being led on a leash attached to a collar.  Riding is a form of what we are calling physical confinement by ropes since the rider’s body becomes the device that guides the horse’s movements by offering levels of discomfort when the horse goes in a direction, speed or form the rider doesn’t want.
Because horses are physically stronger than humans, we have used and developed numerous devices with capabilities of causing a horse differing levels of discomfort and pain in order to control her movements.  Devices used in this training method include all halters, bridles, bits, stud chains, spurs, ropes, as well as the rider’s legs and seat.

By strategically placing devices of differing strengths, widths, materials and textures, a human’s strength has the potential to match or overpower a horse’s by paralyzing her with pain.  

Typically, humans begin training in this method by confining a horse’s head because it is the most sensitive area of the body and because it can be physically manipulated more easily than other parts of the horse’s anatomy due to its location at the end of a long neck.  

With confinement by use of ropes, a horse learns to surrender much as she did in the fenced area and follow the feel of the human’s limbs corralling her movements and leaving her one option that is the place with the least amount of discomfort or pain.  

Nearly every training method in history is based on the use of this method.  The reason for its popularity is likely because it can be used from horseback where humans no longer have the limitation of their own ground speed.  A person can ride as fast as a horse can run.  From his perch on top, a human can manipulate the pressure points on a horse’s body to control her speed, direction, and even the shape of her body like a living puppet.  Not only can a human do this with devices that have the potential to cause a lot of pain, often once a horse has been trained with ropes, a human can then teach the horse to respond to more subtle cues such as light leg pressure and shifts of weight.  At this point, the rider can remove the more obvious ropes and as if by magic, the horse seems to dance of her own free will!

Mastery of horses’ movements through confinement by ropes has been a fascinating challenge and game for cultures since the most ancient of times.  Even today humans perpetuate and celebrate it with competitions like the Olympics and World Cup.

In the comments section today please post links to videos that show the use of this method of training.  Also, if you have questions, experiences to tell or different observations please write them down and post them as comments.  By speaking out as well as listening to each other, we will add to the level of compassion and understanding in the world today. 

Tomorrow we will post part 3: Physical confinement by means of fences and ropes.

Physical confinement by means of fences and ropes.

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I am so grateful to Stormy to have the courage to put this project together. The core of this work, and the combined message continues to open hearts here and has spurred wonderful discussions and openings about doing things differently with ourselves, each other and our horses. Learning how to be authentic presence creates profound changes, is empowering and is rippling out into the world of humans and how we are relating with each other. The deeper I go into my personal awareness of the connection to all beings the more vast and fulfilling it becomes!

Barbara Alexander