“Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius - and a lot of courage - to move in the opposite direction.” (Albert Einstein)
We were watching in complete silence. The scene outside of the barn scared us. Going back home from a lesson, the horse refused loading the trailer and the pressure escalated. They were shaking the lunge of the rope halter making the horse back up a few steps and then the other person was behind the horse shaking what looks like a dressage whip but thicker with a plastic bag attached at the end making the horse move forward. At first, I looked at the plastic bag thinking that it was a new technique for flying carrots. Often he comes in the barn with a plastic bag in his hands but the bag is full of carrots. This one was empty and Caesar explained. This is supposed to be a loading technique. They make you walk back and forth many times, they make you spin and back again, hoping that you will be so confused, or disoriented, or submitted, that you would rather load the trailer. They tried this type of rope halter with me and I hated it. These things are made of fine rope and when they pull on the lunge the halter gives the feeling of cutting into your poll. There are also two knots on the front part that put pressure on our facial nerves. I removed it in two minutes rubbing my head against my leg. Once I got rid of this junk, I was ready to load the trailer by myself just to give them a lesson, but these pretenders are so pretentious that they would have believed that I learned my lesson. I just walked back in my stall. Amazingly they tried a second time punishing me by shaking the lunge of this rope thing into my face. Now I was annoyed and I charged them throwing my front legs in their direction. They run away dropping the lunge and I removed the halter a second time. This time I stood in the corridor with my feet on their rope thing. They looked at me disconcerted. I did not fit their behavior theories. I was not supposed to react like that. They did not question the coherence of their behavior; they decided that my behavior was out of the norms. While they were arguing that I was too thick for their subtle training, I turned back into my stall deciding that they were to dumb for me.
The loading session or more exactly the non-loading session continued outside. After several back and fore and back and fore, shaking the lunge of the rope halter into the horse face and shaking the plastic bag behind him, they walked toward the trailer and of course the horse refused loading. The horse brain was overly saturated, rapid oxygen flaw, heat, chaotic succession of senseless stimulus had totally short circuited both hemispheres of his brain. For the horse, it was no longer about the trailer but about surviving by refusing everything. I was thinking, even if this poor horse finally load into the trailer he will not remember the event or the reason. His brain is no longer capable to register anything and never the less memorize a lesson.
I was very angry. This reminded me the absurdities of the race track training. When I was into this world of abuses I believed that it was the norm. Now that we live in a world where we are respected and educated, seeing such low grade, inane and abusive training is revolting. I know now how much our brain develops when properly challenged. I know how greater intelligence enhances our life both physically and mentally. I know how sounder we are and better we perform when our education is about guiding our brain toward the coordination of our physique optimally adapted to the athletic demand of the performance. Instead of being intelligently educated, Caesar has been submitted to execute performances and he ended with a cripple body. He reeducated his crippled physique by processing mentally beyond the limits of his natural reflexes. He had to have the intelligence of taking over his survival reflexes, which has been his way of life for years. While the majority of horses never have the chance to be trained through the Science of Motion approach, we all know how fascinating, efficient and kind this progressive development of our intelligence can be. Watching this type of loading technique is like returning to the prehistoric age. It is like equine and human species have lost decades of progresses.
This abuse needed to stop. Where is he? I turned on the other side of my stall watching by the other window to see where he was. He was finishing another lesson in the dressage ring. From where he was he could not see the loading event. I whinnied, and he immediately looked at me. I often watch lessons and training sessions going on in the ring, but I never whiny. Having his attention, I shake my head up and down. He knows that I do that when something bothers me and he walked promptly toward the barn. As you know, I can read his thoughts and he was not happy assessing the situation. He rarely intervenes with loading issues because people believe in loading techniques that are based on shutting off the horses brain and he does not like the mentality. It was a note of humor when I compared the words that came out of his mouth with the thoughts that were in his mind. He politely says, “We do not practice this type of technique.” I can tell you that “technique” was not the word that was in his cerebral cortex. He took the lunge of the rope halter leading the horse into the barn saying, “We do not use these things either.” He removed the rope halter and placed a wider and softer halter around the horse head. He walked out of the barn with the horse saying, “His brain is completely turned off. This is a protective reflex mechanism. In this state of mind nothing will work. I am going to walk outside with him until he calms down and his mind came back to life.
As he walked away with the horse, his mind was puzzled. “They come here because they have a problem with the horse that conventional riding and training techniques cannot resolve. The girl is a talented rider. The trainer understood that the problem was beyond the scoop of traditional views. Once I identified the root cause, they were capable to see it and understand the purpose and priorities of the reeducation program. The rider was quite good at comprehending that it was not any exercise that could fix the vertebral torsion but instead an equitation guiding the horse brain toward the proper coordination. The rider did not have much difficulties understanding that errors were not behavior problem but instead, mental processing which, from error to error leads the horse brain toward the right solution. They did all that quite well and then, as it comes to load the horse into the trailer, they go back to these degrading techniques that annihilate the horse intelligence. They act like if the horse that they work with in the training ring is not the same horse that the one loading the trailer. They develop the brain in the ring and shrink the brain in the barn.” Robert Frost’s funny quote crossed his mind, “The brain is a wonderful organ; it starts working the moment you get up in the morning, and does not stop until you get to the office.” He simply added, “he should have said the barn.”
He went in the dressage ring with the horse walking first and then asking very easy movements. I knew that the movements were simply a way to reopen the horse’s mind. Then he walked back holding his right hand on the horse wither as he does when he practices the work in hand. He gave the lunge to the rider telling her to walk quietly toward the trailer and adding, I am going to place a lunge line behind the horse butt and resist lightly but also giving some if he pulls back. You will gently keep his head in the direction of the trailer. Let him face the problem and if he pulls back go with him but keep his head in the direction of the problem. Do not try to pull on the halter. If he pulls back, you go with him. You do not want him hurting his head on the celling of the trailer or flipping over. He went in the barn picking up the lunge line and when he came back, the horse was in the trailer. The young girls said, “I walked toward the trailer and he went in without hesitation.” By simply letting the horse calm down and reopening his mind, the horse decided that loading was acceptable. My thought went to the horse in the trailer telling him, Good move, this might gave them a lesson about our intelligence, but it was wishful thinking. In fact I would love to have been able to see his face when the trainer asked him, ”What exercise did you used that convinced him to load?”
The same night, he came in the barn with a tube of Omapremazone and a picture. He knew that I was annoyed by the evening events and feared that I could have developed some ulcers. The picture was incredibly beautiful. He sat on my window saying, “You know, there are the ones who kill animals for sport, abuse their dog, or cat, or horse, and quite often their wife and children. These are to ones that keep the human species so destructive. But there is more and more a movement toward respect for animals, acknowledgement that you have emotions, empathy, that we can live together respecting and even helping each other. A large percentage of humans remain mentally at the level of the Stone Age, even if what they hold in their hand is no longer a stone but a cellular phone. However, there is also a fast growing percentage of humans who realize that destroying all the species is leading to our own destruction. Abuses have been part of the relation between humans and equines since the first day that the relation started. Some abuses are directed by sadism, other by ignorance, others by plain stupidity. They were not known and reported before, but they were reality. Today with the internet, surveillance cameras and greater knowledge, a never previously equaled understanding of life is available. Idiots will always be idiots, but no longer as a majority. Look at this picture; decades ago a large majority would have denied the kindness and love and empathy that is so beautifully illustrated by these two apes. Today, a large majority look at the beauty and the power of this couple thinking, wow.”