An animal does not have to die or become injured to break your heart. As a professional horse trainer, my heart has been broken more than a dozen times by perfectly healthy horses and I am certainly not unique in that fact. Most professionals are in this business, because they love horses and want to spend their lives hanging around with them, you can tell right away when you meet such a trainer, that this is true. You will observe it in their actions as they handle and interact with any horse. Even if they must discipline a horse you will see good trainers do not lose their calm, rational or systematic approach. Their love of the horse will show in the way they work with their projects, all you have to do is observe.
Any person who has made their living training horses starting from the ground up certainly knows about hard work and commitment. There is a rewarding respect earned by paying your dues, staying humble and respecting those farther ahead in their journey than you are. Along the way aspiring hopefuls, seasoned trainers all will have worked with whatever horse we could get our hands on and for as long as we were lucky enough to keep our project. There is the lure among those who love these fine animals of trying to figure out how to make each individual better, while still maintaining and building some form of trust and respect. Not an easy task, and in this process, at least for me, a relationship is always formed. These relationships take a surprising hold no matter how professional one might try to remain. Even if we are warned, this is a sale horse, or a short-term project, that does not help, or keep us, from entering the heartbreak zone. Just because you KNOW you do not own the horse, you still form that relationship. The one that can break your heart. I know with certainty that I cannot spend weeks, months or years interacting with a being such as a horse, and not find myself enamored with that soul, in some way.
Usually, horses I work with also start to feel they are mine, and that I am their person. I think that is a good thing. It helps me to interact with each horse I handle as if he is indeed a long-term project that I cannot cut any corners with. I believe that every horse in a training program needs to learn to develop a relationship with their handlers. It should not be thought that spoiling the horse is the answer. However, stopping by to visit your equine friends, in their stall, at the end or beginning of the day, so they know they have a person, is imperative. Horses are HERD animals and horse trainers must become their chosen leader. Horses make choices all the time, they must choose you as their established leader. As I venture ever onwards into the world of unwanted horses here in America I find these truths even more important and vital. Horses who have been let down by the people they depended on have varying stories of hope lost, trust broken, miseries suffered. They need partnership routine, care and someone to trust, just as much, or more, than any individual.
The program we want to build here at Rock Bluff Ranch in Bell Florida will be all about partnerships. Partnerships that will mend heartbreak… for horses and people alike. Even though, each horse that passes through the gates either coming or going is likely to take all our hearts on just one more journey. Please find time to reach out if you can. We need volunteers, donations, products, services, fence building parties, grooms, riders, and aspiring horsemen to unite as we try to become part of a very real problem here in the United States of America. Horses are regarded as disposable. Something to be used in their prime and shucked off when they pass it. This need not be so. All it takes is you, you and you to step forward. Do what is right for any horse in your life and those with no voice of their own.
Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to help.