The Untrainable Horse
If I had a dollar for every mustang that has been deemed untrainable, I would be rich.
The common theme is that the horse is simply too wild and does not want to live the domestic life. Even my own horse was deemed untrainable before he came to me. I was told that he was schizophrenic, autistic, too psychologically/emotionally damaged and would never be better than he was at that time. As you can see here, that is not the case.
I find it interesting that in every case, the blame is laid on the horse and never on the humans. The claim is always “That horse is untrainable” as opposed to “I don’t have the skills to train that horse”.
If every mustang that was declared untrainable ended up going to sanctuary to live out their lives as a horse in relative freedom, I wouldn’t have a problem with it. Unfortunately, the claim often sets them up for a lifetime of mistreatment and abuse, as trainers with something to prove use more and more aggressive methods to train it. Neglect is also a common occurrence as the animal can not be properly cared for if the owner can’t handle it. Or, worst case scenario, it’s a death sentence for the horse when the owner gives up and the horse is sent to the kill pens.
Claiming a horse is untrainable puts the owner/trainer in a very awkward position. If the trainer allows someone else to work with the horse, they run the risk of being proven wrong. I’d like to say that people will always put the welfare of the horse before their own pride, but this is just not the case.
Declaring a horse untrainable also creates a situation in which every person that comes in contact with the horse is already working on the assumption that the horse is untrainable. Because our minds sort for only what supports our beliefs and discards the rest, someone who begins working with a horse believing that the horse is untrainable will only see the behaviors that support this belief. It would take someone with either a different belief system or a very open mind to approach the horse without that stigma attached and successfully train it.
Working with a horse that you can’t train is actually an incredible opportunity, as opposed to something you should be embarrassed about. If you take advantage of the opportunity, the horse will take you out of your comfort zone, challenge your beliefs, teach you things you never knew and make you grow as a person. When you have to search for answers beyond yourself, a whole new world of possibilities can open up for you and your “untrainable” horse.