|Taco learning via the COPE system|
Compassion- You must care about the animal you are working with. It does neither you, nor him any good if you cannot truly care about him. You will not be able to connect with an animal you do not care for. So, be fair to him and to you alike by LEARNING to care for him if you must.
Optimism- You must be optimistic when working with him. Have a positive outlook and you will go far. Negativity breeds lack of success! Horses are very empathic themselves. They can tell when we feel good, or when we are having an off day. When you establish a bond with a horse or mule, you will be
able to tell when he’s feeling good. So, when you approach your tasks with optimism, it will radiate from you and will be picked up by the animal, therefore ensuring a productive training session. Likewise, if you approach your tasks with a poor attitude, and are pessimistic about your success, it’s like as not to
produce a bad, if not even dangerous session.
Patience- It requires LOTS of patience to work with horses and especially a mule. You have to take the time that it takes. You cannot force a square peg into a round hole, so to speak, so come into each session prepared to take as long as needed. If you do not have time to do your tasks correctly, without
rushing, then do not start. Wait until you DO have the time. As a wise man once said: “Shortcuts make for long delays.” When you rush your training you leave holes for yourself, or for the next person to come along. If it's worth doing, it's worth doing right the FIRST time.
Empathy- The ability to understand and share the feelings of another. This simply means that you have
to try and understand where he's coming from. Put yourself it his shoes, so to speak. It will make you a better trainer, and a better horse person all the way around. I DON'T mean treat him like a 5 y/o child; he's still a horse after all. I just mean to try to imagine how your training is affecting him on the whole.
Going back to an earlier point, horses themselves are very good empaths, so should you be. Learn to tell when he’s having a good, or even an off day.
Applying these four principles to your training regimen will ensure that you have a productive, and even a fun training session. Equines should serve us because we've helped them WANT to be with us, rather than to break their spirits. It’s easy to take short cuts, but you have to think about the bigger picture. Do you really want a slave, or would you rather have a willing, enthusiastic partner willing to go above and beyond the call?