Sunday, December 23, 2012

Passive Leader of the Christmas Parade

Photo by Gretchen
My friend Gretchen forwarded a picture of her holiday decorations which include representations of the Bad Cowgirl horses--Blessi, Hollyanna, Quigley, Flynn, Abner, Special, and Rev.  At this moment, Blessi is in the lead. 

Which reminds me of Mark Rashid's concept of "passive leader."  "There are two types of leaders in a herd situation. The alpha, or lead horse, that rules by dominance, and passive leaders that lead by example. The passive leaders are usually chosen by other members of the herd and are followed willingly, while alphas use force to declare their place in the herd."

A passive leader is usually an older , confident, quiet horse in the herd.  The passive leader is usually mid level in the pecking order and doesn't care to be agreesive to move up in this order.  The other horses want to be with a passive leader since he or she is consistent and dependable.  Mark bases his training methods off those of the passive leader horse, rather than the alpha horse. 

I have found this concept really useful when working with Blessi.  As Mark Rashid says, "
I guess when it gets right down to it, it's more of an attitude than a technique. It's being
able to give the horse the benefit of the doubt that they will try and do things right for
you, and not constantly reprimanding them for things done wrong."


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