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The Nature of the Horse

"The knowledge of the nature of a horse is one of the first foundations of the art of riding it, and every horseman must make it his principal study." ~Francois Robichon de La Gueriniere

So, what is the nature of a horse? Horses cannot learn the same way we do, we must teach to their natural instincts. Their bodies are powerful, living machines that can work all day. Their brains give them both the ability to understand subtle commands and the motivation to obey them. The biggest motivation for a horse is a sense of comfort and feeling of safety. But, how much is natural and how much is learned? Horses naturally can walk, trot, canter, backup, sidepass, spin, etc., but when we begin to put qualifications to these movements they must be taught, through repetition and correct release of pressure. When we begin to understand the distinction between nature and learned behavior through instruction, only then can we fully appreciate what these magnificent creatures are capable of. We can appreciate the intelligence and cooperation that they possess and the generosity with which they attempt to understand our requests. With proper treatment, almost all horses are willing to try to do what we ask.

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