Life Law #8

Life Law #8: We teach people how to treat us.

Strategy: Own, rather than complain, about how people treat you.

Simple yet complex.

  • We teach people how to treat us.
  • People teach us how to treat them.
  • We teach horses how to treat us. (if we are doing the training)
  • Horses teach people how to treat them. (if we are unaware)

This law is one of the more interesting ones to observe with horses. There are many time when I am coaching people that it becomes obvious that the horse has arranged the situation to fit their will. Some examples include:

a horse that won’t lope…..threatens to buck if bumped with legs

a horse that flips its head….threatening to rear because it scares the rider and causes a release

a horse that considers trailer loading with grain….but throws a fit if pressure is applied

a horse that spooks….but only with riders that are intimidated

Growing up I taught lessons at a guest resort. The guests would come to Maine from all over the world and one thing they could do was ride horses. I was the instructor. The horses were the teachers…

We had one horse, Tate, that was very smart. After a couple of years there he began to go bad. His version of ‘going bad’ was that he would not move. I could get on and with the mere thought of going could easily trot or lope. A guest would get on and he wouldn’t move. Heck, after a few years of careful study on Tate’s part he truly wouldn’t move for them even if I did get them to finally give him one good kick. He had simply learned they didn’t mean it. Nothing I could do would convince him….because he was right-they didn’t mean it!

He had figured out how to treat people to get rid of them. Not much of a ride if the horse doesn’t move. Really shortens the ride. Smart horse. How are you doing at teaching people how to treat you?


  1. Sue-Ellen on December 29, 2011 at 6:28 pm

    This is so true in every aspect of life, I used to work on a construction site and people used to ask me how I was treated and what experiences I had? I would reply ‘the tradesmen always treated me really well’, and this article has reminded me of why – because I taught them how I wanted to be treated. I created my own experiences.
    This is one example of why I am truly grateful for having horses in my life, as they have taught me so many life skills that have been invaluable. I am the person I am today because I have grown up and learned from my horses 🙂

  2. Angie Snell on December 29, 2011 at 3:25 pm

    Haha SO true!! My old horse pulled the wont move trick with a young girl a couple of weeks ago, because she didn’t mean it, eventually she had him trotting nicely, I only have to think go too! And yes I can think of HEAPS more example of horses who have taught their riders how to treat them! Another great blog, thanks Stacy 🙂

  3. McKenzie Morris on December 29, 2011 at 11:43 am

    This is so very, very true! Well put Stacy!

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