It's good to see that I'm still stirring the pot :-). There are quite a few comments coming in (not via this blog's comment system unfortunately).
It seems I need to clarify myself. No wonder, with all the rambling I'm probably a bit unclear at times. So here we go...
I said I like to take things slowly with horses, as I like them to be not just OK, but happy around me. I said I always ask politely first when I ask for anything. In most cases, that's enough and they follow my request. I said I only increase the pressure when necessary, and only as much as is necessary.
What I did not say is that I enjoy putting pressure on a horse or that a lot of pressure is necessary to achieve most things. I did not say I like to yell at a horse, nor that I like to use strong body language to get my point across.
These things I do if and when necessary only.
So to those who who still think I'm a cruel and uncaring meat-head who likes to beat up on poor horses, I say this: Wear your pussy-footsy hats proudly. There are lots of horses in this world who do not have the good fortune to be owned by caring people like you. There are lots of people who don't have the means, time, good fortune, education or possibilities to be so kind to their horses. You and your horses are lucky to live in relative luxury and in enlightened times. Good for you and good for your horses. Keep up the good work.
I'm looking forward to retiring from horse-starting and horse-training. When that happens, and I'll have my couple of beloved horses only, I will no longer need to do anything other than gently. When people stop sending me a horse that they can't handle themselves, don't have the experience to start under saddle themselves or have allowed to pick up scary habits, then I will no longer need to raise my voice or use loud body language. I guess I'd like to be like that right now!
However, between economic necessity and requests from people to work with their horses, I guess I will go on handling and riding unknown quantities and known problem horses. And while ever that's the case, I will continue to go as easy as possible and as hard as necessary to ensure that these horses are given the best chance to be someone's beloved riding horse.
Hope that makes sense.
Yvonne, Greg and I had a lovely ride today on Flamenca, Darah and Carlos respectively. Lots of toelt for Yvonne and I :-) How nice to just go for a ride and enjoy the horses and the landscape. The weather was beautiful and the view magnificent. Photos here.