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  • erin2689

The Foundation of a Positive Horse-Human Partnership

Updated: Aug 20, 2023

"What do horses need from us?"

I met a new participant recently and was giving her an overview of our approach to horsemanship. I told her that we start by learning about horses and what they need from us to form a mutually beneficial relationship. We then build specific skills and communication with this knowledge in mind.

"So, what do horses need from us?", she asked.

At the core of everything we do in our relationship-driven model is this very simple belief:

I am SAFE (with you).

Our horses need to feel safe with us. Our participants need to feel this from our horses, as well as from our staff. Not just physically safe, but mentally, emotionally.

In our Partnership-Based Horsemanship approach, horses know they are safe with us. We prove it to them by our following commitments and our actions that demonstrate them:

  1. I am AWARE


  3. I make SENSE

Being consistent in these messages builds the foundation of trust, relaxation, and partnership. These commitments are the basis of how we show up, what we do and don't do, and how we progress.

Without this foundation of felt safety there are countless, inevitable cracks and compromises in the relationship. Barriers to progress. Roadblocks to the accomplishments or experiences we desire. Not to mention, the very benefits that we enjoy from being with the horses are reduced, if not eliminated altogether.

Everything we do is built on this very simple belief. It's what we go back to when something goes awry and it's what we continue to add depth to at every stage of learning.

I am aware. I am listening. I make sense.

I am safe for you.

We are safe together.

Just writing these words, I feel a release of tension. Peace. It's what I hope the horse feels from me.

What do you feel?

Thanks for reading,


Program Director/Founder, Ruby's Home for Good


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