A book chock-full of answers to horse-behavior questions that will change equine life for the better.
Relationships with horses, whether for companionship or competition, are complex and ever-changing. Horsewoman Lynn Acton explains that when the focus in the relationship is on what we want from the horse, his compliance becomes the measure of success, and what he thinks and feels is often overlooked. Is he calm, confident, and trusting? Or anxiously wishing he could escape? His behavior, performance, and reliability--in whatever discipline we prefer or equestrian sport we pursue--depend on the answers to those questions.
In this book, Acton teaches readers how to:
- Earn a horse's trust starting from the moment you meet him.
- Discourage unwanted behavior without punishment.
- Catch an "uncatchable" horse by showing him he will be safe when he is with you.
- Interpret unwanted behavior so you can identify and address underlying causes.
- Recognize "misbehavior" that is actually a positive sign that your horse is thinking like a partner.
- Turn pressure into a clear means of communication instead of a source of stress.
- Encourage your horse to stay with you when he is nervous and watch for your guidance and direction.
- Use rewards to encourage learning and improve your relationship with your horse.
- Reawaken your horse's curiosity and ability to learn in new and potentially scary situations.
- Improve your horse's reliability with a positive confidence-building system.
- Strengthen your connection with your horse by allowing him appropriate choices and freedom.
Horses want security and social bonds. They want leaders they trust to protect them--not only from danger, but from stress. When we provide this security, they accept our rules. This not only puts us in charge, it makes our leadership more effective because we do not force it on them; they seek it. The result is less anxiety, fewer behavior problems, more efficient learning, and better reliability.
Acton refers to this relationship as Protector Leadership because being the "protector" is the foundation. Building methodology based on time-tested training theories that we are often exposed to in bits and pieces, in this book, Acton shows why Protector Leadership works and how to make it work for us, fitting the separate pieces together, and illustrating the connections with practical examples of real horses in everyday life. Riders of all disciplines and students of the horse of all experience levels will ponder illuminating points they may have never before considered.
About the Author
Lynn Acton has a diverse equestrian and academic background that helps her understand horses, relationships, and leadership from an interdisciplinary point of view. Her degrees in sociology and systems science have contributed to her understanding of research studies, the social dynamics of horses, their interactions with people, and how the interconnected parts of complex social systems fit together. After spending time working on a Thoroughbred breeding farm and later retraining off-track Thoroughbreds, Acton became certified by the Certified Horsemanship Association (CHA) to teach both English and Western riding and started a therapeutic riding program for at-risk youth. She currently competes in Horse Agility and Equagility (ridden agility). She and her husband live in Berkshire, New York.