What is Friendship Training?
Friendship Training is the only known format that is specifically designed to overcome the huge abyss of misunderstanding between horses and humans and prevent the recurring generational problems caused by traditional training methods.
Friendship Training is also a unique experiential and life enrichment that can only be gained by creating an intimate, interspecies friendship with a horse. But enjoying the rewards and benefits of FT requires a definite perception modification from traditional “horse training” to that of a combined teacher, mentor and trusted friend.
By altering our perspective and “looking at things in a different light,” Friendship Training gives anyone a greater understanding of themselves, their horse and all horses as well as the human/equine relationship itself. Once the Rubiks Cube is given a half turn, we see the Horse in a different light. When we do, unprecedented levels of trust, communication and intimacy offer the ability to form an affable, codependent, harmonious partnership that many horse owners dream of but never fully attain with their horse.
FT does not use round pens, whips, lunge lines, lariats or any type of “special aids” (nor does it share the perceptions and tactics used by traditional animal training formats.) Incorporating FT philosophy and its “hands on” format into everyday life will give anyone unprecedented levels of understanding, communication, trust and bonding with their horse.
There are several prerequisites to using FT. The first is simply determining the type of relationship you want to share with your horse. If it is one of simply controlling and training a large animal, then one or another of the traditional training formats should suffice to one degree or another. But if you were looking for different, something above and beyond that normal, dictatorial type of relationship, then it would be essential to seek alternate methods of interaction. It would be difficult to determine the parameters of these alternate methods without first trying to clarify the relationship itself. Owing to the limitations of the printed word, attempting to encapsulate the complexity of a nearly spiritual interspecies bond between horse and human in a few words or sentences is in itself a magnanimous, if not an impossible task. For want of better, let’s say our ultimate goal is sharing a very intimate partnership with our horse whose cornerstones would be complete reciprocal trust, nearly psychic communication, an exhilarating commonality of goals and the codependent oneness of two hearts and minds enjoined in complete harmony. Friendship Training is the only interactive format known that is designed specifically for that purpose.
The next prerequisite is an open mind. Of course we ALL have an open mind! But for all intent purposes let’s quantify an open mind as a willingness to hear a potentially oppositional point of view, an eagerness to exchange facts and data on that point of view, and then make an objective comparison with previously accepted data until a logical conclusion is achieved. To contemplate the effectiveness and potential of FT, one would need an open mind to envision and fully comprehend the following FT precepts.
#1. Every horse that was ever born was born a perfect horse. He was not born an obstinate, stupid beast destined to exasperate, frustrate or hurt humans. He was born a perfect horse.
#2. It is human intervention and the horse's reactions to that intervention by using traditional training methods that force him to resist, dislike, mistrust, despise and/or hate humans.
#3. If we use methods of training that are identical to the ones he uses to establish and maintain his herd rank, he will react accordingly.
#4. If we use methods of interaction that duplicate how two horses create an intimate, trusting friendship, he will react accordingly.
#5. There is no such thing as a bad horse. There are spirited horses that resist being forced to do something. There are abused horses that have learned to hate humans. There are horses that cannot tolerate the illogic of ground and mounted activities with humans. There are fair-minded, sensible horses that detest humans because their owner does not understand them. There are horses that do not want to leave the security of the herd because they have no trust or confidence in their rider's survival judgment. And there are horses that have never learned that a human can be a trusted friend. But there is no such thing as a bad horse.
#6. No two horses have the same mental capabilities, emotional capacity or personality. But all horses use the same sequential steps to establish a trusting, harmonious, intimate relationship that they do not share with any other horses in the herd.
#7. A horse cannot “be all that he can be” for us (or all that we want him to be) if his only motivation is being treated like a slave or simple beast of burden that was forced into submission and servitude.
#8. If you limit your knowledge to methods of dominance and submission, your understanding of the Horse will be limited to his reaction to those methods of dominance and submission.
#9. The key to a truly successful interspecies partnership with the Horse is respecting and understanding the emotions and instincts that govern every waking moment of his life.
#10. I have met the enemy, and it was not the Horse,
as I had first thought. The enemy was my lack of understanding and compassion.