Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Whole Horse Weekend

Whole Horse
I learned a lot at the Whole Horse Weekend, and hope everyone else did. I already knew Nick Sanders was a great guy. Forget the ability to do things with horses and ponies, Nick got a group of Alternative/Natural/Positive/Operant/ Horse trainers and got them all demonstrating over a weekend, and there was no bloodshed.
Some trainers use treats incessantly, (the correct approach because it is what I do) some never use them, some use them under certain conditions and others under different conditions. Some work close up to the animal, some from a distance, some use equipment, some don't.
Some shout, some whisper, some wave their arms while others radiate calm. Some use long words and quote scientific textbooks, some have had a personal moment of inspitation, some follow a teacher and some agree with every word I say and are therefore right. But the crunch factor is the lack of blood.
Nobody hit anybody. Given this bunch of opinionated prima donnas, (and this is a list at which I put myself right at the top)  that it didn't descend into violence is impressive. The real surprise with a group of people and horses, is that nobody hit a horse. No whips, no violence.
We argue about carrots, and clicks, pressure and release, lick and chew but we all avoid hit and hope. Lets promote the fact that there are hundreds ways of NOT hitting horses.
And finally, lets make a resolution that at next year's Whole Horse event, we stick Nick Sanders in the ring with a horse and make him do a demo. He's a great organiser, he's got a really good team together, but let's not forget, he is a great horseman, and next year he is going to show us.