He stood there looking at me, his nostrils flaring widely as he looked at the long lunge training whip in my hand. He wasn't sure he approved of any of this. In fact, he was pretty sure he didn't. I poked his backside with it gently, and he snorted, but slowly walked along. Then, I clucked at him, and he blew his nostrils at me again... I flicked the whip a touch on his haunches, and he kicked and stopped, facing me with the flaring nostrils.
Now.. at this point... I'd seen it go two ways. The most common was the 'cowboy way' where you lash them till they run and you hold tight to that line to keep them in the circle... or the way I was more comfortable with, which was to drop the whip down, pull out some carrot chunks, and walk up to him, feed him, rub his nose and ears till he ducked his head down and nuzzled me. Right.. we ARE friends big fella.. now.. lets try this again. So.. I walk back to the center, he tries to follow me, but now I raise the whip and use it to poke him back, and he quickly steps back. He begins walking, I click, he kicks just a bit, but starts into a trot... Excellent! This goes well for a bit, now time to learn to go the other way. I put my arm and whip out straight in front of the direction he is going and call out "REVERSE!". He comes to a dead stop, and turns to face me, ears back, tail swishing and nostrils, you got it.. flaring. Then a couple of foot stomps. So.. I drop the whip, walk back out to him, repeat with the carrots, rubbing and talking till he nuzzles me again, then I turn him facing the opposite direction and click him into a trot. He gets going round and round again, then, comes the arm and whip up and the Command "REVERSE".. he stops and turns part way.. "Good boy, that's right"... a bit of a flick of the whip on his butt and he starts trotting the other way... round and round..
"REVERSE" and this time, just the arm goes up, and he turns and goes the other way, smooth as clockwork. We do this for about 30 mins, he gets into the rhythm, and then I drop the line, do a certain whistle and call "COME" and he stops and trots up to me, and then I give him carrots and he bumps his nose against me. I take him back to the paddock and let him go... for now this bit of training is done. After this, he may still stop and maybe test if I am still strong enough to control him, but in the end, its a loving partnership. See a connection?
Now I see Paladin much the same. He's not a submissive slave. He is a very strong man. I think his years as a Rugby Captain made him very competitive, and got him used to being a leader and in control.
He is a brilliant software engineer and a leader in his work. Think of giving mouse's Omega a Command and imagine the look you'd get. Yeah. something like that.. While I know that my being the decision maker takes a lot of pressure off of him in a personal way, I also know that its very hard for him to take a Command when he doesn't know why. But still.. that "why?" gets under my skin, and it makes me wanna smack him with the whip, or towel, or maybe the new floggers we got from Ms.Ann . When I give him a Command, I just want him to obey and NOT ask me why. Am I being unreasonable here???
It seems to me, we have build up some pretty strong trust five years into this. And yet, I find myself explaining to him 'why'. And I take a deep breath, and then, take the time to explain, because after all, he is still like that semi-wild stallion, and I'd rather have him that way, then any other. The subject matter of being 'broken' had come up on other blogs. And my answer, is that like Monty Roberts, the real horse whisperer, I'd rather earn the devotion and loyalty for real, then breaking him to submit. And I do know, that I have his total devotion and obedience when I need it.
But I do wish, he's stop asking me 'why' quite so often, else I may just have to try that particular stingy flogger out, just to re-establish things a bit.
Best to all,