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Relationships with horses, whether for companionship or
competition, are complex and ever-changing. This is one of the reasons why
“horsemanship” can become a lifelong pursuit: There is always a balance to be
struck with our equine partners, and it demands continual growth and
understanding on our side. In this book, horsewoman Lynn Acton explains that when
the focus in the relationship is on what
from the horse, his compliance becomes the measure of success, and
what he thinks and feels is often overlooked. Is he calm, confident, and
trusting? Or anxiously wishing he could escape? His behavior, performance, and
reliability—in whatever discipline we prefer or equestrian sport we pursue—depend
on the answers to those questions.
Horses want security and social bonds. They want leaders
they trust to protect them—not only from danger, but from stress. When we
provide this security, they accept our rules. This not only puts us in charge,
it makes our leadership more
effective because we do not force it on them; they seek it. The result is less anxiety, fewer behavior problems, more
efficient learning, and better reliability. Acton refers to this relationship
as Protector Leadership because being
the “protector” is the foundation. Building methodology based on time-tested
training theories that we are often exposed to in bits and pieces, Acton shows why
Protector Leadership works and how to make it work for us, fitting the separate
pieces together, and illustrating the connections with practical examples of
real horses in everyday life.