Training Secrets Revealed (Part 4)
Click here to read Part 3
No physical confinement.
|No physical confinement for the horse. (Hontoto)
In this approach, each horse must choose to come into relationship with the human if she is to be trained. In this method, when we use the word training, we could alternately use other terms that describe aspects of relationships with horses including: teaching, learning, educating, serving, exploring, playing or “developing a common language.”
To properly use this method, each horse must live on enough land that she can care for her physical needs for food, exercise, companionship and shelter the way her ancestors evolved to do. All training done in this way begins with the curiosity of the horse to see what a human has to offer to make her life better beyond the basic necessities. These things include scratching, massages, hoof care, insect control, and edible treats.
Since this method uses neither small spaces nor ropes, we humans must prove our kindness, fairness, and leadership qualities to each horse in order to gain the privilege of working with her. Humans using this method are honored to call themselves friends, advocates and guardians of horses.
This is the way OurHorses community members are with horses. We call this way of being with horses, hontoto. Hontoto is a Maidu Indian word meaning “together in heart and spirit.” We have borrowed the word from the people native to the land where we live with the first horses to be treated this way in the modern world. We will carry the word forward and let it stand to represent horses and humans living in harmony as family, and as a symbol for peace throughout the world. We will be together in heart and spirit with every living being on the earth when we find peace inside. In order to change the world, only one being needs to find that place. You. We’re building a community to explore this way of life by living it with horses and humans.
Some community members are not able to provide completely free-living circumstances for their horses. In these cases, we talk with each other about what our horse-keeping options are and take whatever steps we can to lead towards hontoto.
Some questions to reflect on and foster discussion:
Which means of confinement do you use with horses?
Which means of confinement do your favorite trainers use?
What challenges does a person face when working with no physical confinement?
Does working with no physical confinement change a person’s goals or expectations?