Horse Training: Johnny Day Six, Fear

“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.” 1 John 4:18

From day one, aside from the moment with the ATV, everything has been calm and relaxed. There was no ATV on day six but out of the clear blue sky Johnny bolted from the same spot anyway.  I have experienced this before, where only the memory of the fear was enough to ignite it again.

“…scared money cant win and a worried man cant love.” Cormac McCarthy in ‘All the Pretty Horses’. I have experienced personally both ‘scared money’ and ‘worried love’ with painful results, so I heartedly agree. I would add to the quote, “Fear can’t train a horse, and neither can ignorance.” Ignorance and fear go hand in hand; ignorance will keep you afraid and fear will spawn and preserve your stupidity.  Fear which expresses itself in many ways including prejudice and narrow mindedness is perhaps the greatest set back to learning, for both horse and human.  Banish fear from your own heart or it will spread to your horse.

Meanwhile, we have to introduce new things or there will be no learning, but new things can be stressful.  Stress can be described as mild fear which can escalate to panic, but even if it doesn’t, it still undermines learning.  So we introduce new things carefully and repetitively minimizing stress . If we do it too fast and hard, the horse will not learn as quickly and may even sustain damage, probably not in his body, but in his soul.  It is the same for you and me.

Day six and day five have been pretty much the same. After our brief runaway, he was easier to stop today and there were no latent jitters to calm down. He has a nice stop; he is already getting his back legs under him. I can feel it from the walk, but even the stop from the full gallop.  He halts from a walk almost perfectly every time now. He is very light to my hand.  He walks out nicely, but slow. His slowness is a normal colt behavior. He will gradually speed up without really training for it.  I cantered a quarter of a mile today, hoping to add a little excitement and get his blood going.

This entry was posted in Backwoods Philosopher, Johnny, Training. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Horse Training: Johnny Day Six, Fear

  1. Amanda Drake says:

    Hi Joel,

    I was wondering if you would be willing to email me the original file of Johnnie’s picture on day six… I think it is just a great photo and would like to get it printed.

  2. philip thooft says:

    i really love reading your blog i just don`t get on the computer enough to keep up. I remember when you told me that my horse Scout was just a kid and i had to help him learn not to be afraid. that changed the way i related to him and also changed the way i saw his “misbehaviors”, my daughter Ilsa saw the change and it just made everything more pleasant. Also we were talking the other day about weather or not training could make a horse with a rough trot smoother. we did a lot of cantering at the hayride and it seemed to help Scouts trot, it`s much smoother now. I`m looking forward to horse camp,in a couple weeks w you, time has been short for riding lately.

  3. J.R. says:

    Thanks Phil, What you are probably feeling with the rough trot is a stress or resentment about the odd feeling of carrying your weight at a higher speed. When we canter it pushes the stress to a higher level. They quickly get used to feeling though and then they will be more relaxed about the trot.

  4. J.R. says:

    Sure Amanda, it is in the mail.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *