If I want to build unity with a horse, I need to listen really deeply and get on the same wavelength with him. A certain inner attitude is required to build a positive relationship. The power of positive thinking will carry over to the horse, and so will the power of negative thinking. I can only build a close relationship with my horse if I like him and I show him that.

Each horse has an entirely individual personality, just as we humans do. One personality type appeals to me more, another less. After some years, I know as a rider which types of horses I prefer, and which less so. I look for those that are a good fit for me. Still, it takes a while until I can really know the character of a horse. I’ll have to live with some quirks and characteristics I may not prefer. However, I always try to have a positive influence on the horse’s personality.

Through deliberate training, bad habits can become less pronounced; but, having said that, I must never allow myself to believe that I will be able to change the horse’s essential character, which I could not do if I wanted to—for example, a horse that tends toward “laziness” and would rather not try too hard.

To deliberately develop the horse’s personality within his potential means to notice his personality, understand it, and cherish it: notice just how this creature is—with his strengths and his weaknesses. As such, I must not suppress his personality for any reason. This advice, too, was passed down to me from my dad. I need to completely take my cues from the horse, listen deeply, and remain very open to what comes forth.

In Training Horses the Ingrid Klimke Way, author Ingrid Klimke details her personal system of bringing a horse along through the stages of progressive development, and providing readers guidelines and exercises to ensure success without stress at each milestone. The result is surely a joyful partnership between rider and horse that will go the distance.

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