My thoughts on *Trust*
Whatever road you've taken with your horse to train his behaviour I strongly believe that training is just learning how to mutualy communicate as well as how to build up a confidence. But what about trust? I think trust has its own sacred place and cannot be simply achieved through training. Trust is something we gain by just being with a horse, something we mutualy slowly build up in each other. This is why I am not using positive reinforcement to gain Jonny's trust. I could simply just click and reward him "accepting" my presence and touch and that would create some positive connection in his brain. He would probably learn that touch is rewarding - but would he actually trust ME? So I'm not just always training when I'm with Jonny - I spend time doing nothing, hanging out and waiting for his acceptance to be able to touch him. He is very good at telling no or when he wants to stop being touched and I listen to that. Today we had another beautiful breakthrough which was not captured because we were too busy focusing on just being with Jonny. Jonny's owner came to join in and we just hang around talking while Jonny was observing next door horses going crazy as they were finally let out (they were in pretty much 24/7) - first observation the the owner did was that she was surprised Jonny didn't go charging but just stood watching curiously and after a while came to us to initiate the contact. We took his fly sheet off and gosh he looks beautiful underneath that! Today was first time since I've known him that he allowed me to touch his all body, including legs, and enjoyed me scratching his wither. He also muzzled me with his big head and we just stood there cuddling, his head low in my hands gently stroking his long face. I can't explain how it made me feel. It was pretty awesome!