The Evolution of Horsemanship

Frame of Body = Frame of Mind

The language of horses is body language. Therefore, it’s not just WHAT we do with a horse that is important but HOW we use our bodies when we do what we do with our horses that should be kept first and foremost in mind. How relaxing and enjoyable the training is for any breed of horse of any age, or, conversely, how stressful the experience is, depends entirely on HOW the trainer behaves with his or her body language.

The training of any horse of any breed or age begins with the natural law that horses are physiologically hard wired in the bio-chemistry of their central nervous system so that their body, mind and spirit work together as one.

The frame of the body of the horse is also the frame of the mind. So, the truest definition of training the horse should literally mean that we use our body language to shape or sculpt our horses into a frame of body that corresponds to their feeling good in their mind.

Some shapes of a horse feel better for them then others. Some shapes feel heavenly because they create endorphins through the spinal column/central nervous system of the horse – while other shapes produce adrenaline that leaves the horse feeling stressed and not wanting or willing to co-operate. A horse should be “aided” into feeling good with endorphins when “in the good hands” of a an evolved trainer.

When a horse consistently experiences that you make it feel better then it does on its own – then it focuses on you more and more, and WANTS to be with you. In the most logical definition of “natural” this is how we tap into the horses intuitive need for “survival of the fittest”.

It needs to be that simple – does your horse feel better with you then it does on its own or when it is with other horses? If the horse does not feel better with you – then why would it want to be with you and why would it want you to take it away from the other horses and allow you to ride it?

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From catching in the paddock or in the stall, to leading, grooming, tacking up, even mounting, we are always speaking volumes with our body language and every moment they are with us our horses need to see clearly that they feel better with us then they do on their own.

When a rider knows how to not only push the “shaping buttons” correctly on a horse but also knows how to read and feel the energy and emotions of a horse well enough to do so with just the perfect amount of pressure in just the right place at just the right time, so as to be neither too hard or too soft on a horse, then a horse begins to dance instead of merely obey.

When horses find that we care about them enough to stay in the moment and not only know where to push the buttons but also how often, and how much, or when not to push the buttons, then they see us as empathetic shepherds looking out for their best interest and they want to be with us.

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Chris Irwin and EAPD – Wow! This is terrific! He is very engaging and his mastery of his profession is astounding. I very much enjoyed this session and everyone I have spoken to has been amazed by what we can learn from it.
Participant at Leadership Conference with Canadian Federal Government
One of the best! An evening presentation with a golden edge!
Member of Societeit De WitteThe Hague, the Netherlands
The presentation by Chris Irwin was exceptional. His insight with horses as metaphor for the teacher and student relationship was outstanding!
Mt. Vernon Annual Teachers ConferenceWashington, USA
Irwin is the evolution of the Natural Horsemanship