If someone wants to read a very short article about verbal dialogue as a joint activity, I suggest this one by Garrod and Pickering (2004):Why is conversation so easy?
That is one excellent article! Thank you Romy! If you have more to suggest along those lines, IÂ´d be happy
I can really recommend that article, not only because itÂ´s very thought provoking on the topic of dialogue, but it also shows - once again - why a relationship built on trust enables a much more effective type of interaction. It explained for me a whole lot of things about the horse-human communication. The term they use in the article is "interactive alignment". (And BTW it also explains why some people - like me - find it easier to think when engaged in a discussion)
We argue that alignment is also conditional to the extent that it can be inhibited when it conï¬‚icts with current goals and purposes, or promoted when it supports those goals. Behavioural mimicry is conditional in this way (e.g. people mimic otherâ€™s incidental movements or gestures more when they intend to establish a rapport with the other person.)
I know this drifts off to the off-topic side (maybe we can spawn another discussion with that someday...), but itÂ´s not really contradictory to my thoughts about leadership. Or so I believe at least
. ItÂ´s definitely a very good addition to it.
You are such a wonderful addition to this conversation
A wonderful addition to the entire forum
! A touch of brilliance and a lovely energy. A big thank you for finding your way here!
You seriously make me blush in front my computer screen.
Thank you Leigh and Karen, thatÂ´s a very nice thing to say
. I do appreciate very much all the input from all of you on this forum. ItÂ´s in fact comparable to the good vibes you can draw from the interaction with horses. I think itÂ´s the unconditional appreciation of all people who strive to extend their knowledge about horses and therefore themselves.
Now back on topic: IÂ´m still trying to sort all those threads that came loose and now mess up my brain since we started this leadership discussion
I found myself backpedaling a bit since I read the article Romy mentioned. I think I mixed up several things. One is the way one communicates with the horse on a day to day basis. ThatÂ´s what Glen referred to as "quest to develop a language".
One can apply concepts like "leadership", "dominance" and lots of others here as means to communicate and train. And of course those concepts can appear in any of the multitude of shapes that we have already discussed.
But certainly one does NOT need any of those concepts just to communicate effectively with the horse. In fact, as the before mentioned article shows, it may even prove counterproductive to apply "leadership" on a daily basis, because the freedom of interaction might get lost. I say "might", because I can imagine that some individuals may even like to have a leader in some communication situations.
The question remains for me, whether we need leadership at all and when it maybe useful to employ it.
I totally agree with Leigh when she says:
I think our perceptions about leadership are hugely shaped by our life experiences with what has been defined for us as leadership
IÂ´m sure that the way I interact with Mucki is strongly defined by my social background, my parents and my peers. Furthermore IÂ´m afraid that I do employ leadership, even bossiness, sometimes out of a feeling of superiority over Mucki. I know this is not ANDly at all, but I have yet to install a kind of intellectual filter of some instincts in me.
One instinct is the feeling of being oh so intelligent that I simply know better than an animal. (As if we humans were not animals, pfff!)
A second one is the feeling that IÂ´m educating a child when working with Mucki. (That may even be justified at times
ItÂ´s easily possible that there are many more instincts IÂ´m not even aware of.
These incidents of "leadership" can probably be discarded as "bossiness", as true leaders are mostly elected and cannot impose their will upon the followers.
So far I have filtered out two situations for me where leadership may be useful or even advisable:
1.) Young horses
ThatÂ´s a hard one, because I guess there are a ton of really good concepts of teaching children without need of a leader. Also, especially with children itÂ´s a thin line between leading and dictating...
2.) Situations where I pull the horse out of their safe context and have them to "play along with man-made rules".
E.g. leading in possibly dangerous terrain like in traffic, interacting with children, leading or riding in groups of unfamiliar horses without time to get them acquainted.
In such situations I think oneself has to act as some kind of "human governor" of the rules that were set by our society. Whether we like those rules or not, we have to execute them. Of course we could ignore them as well and rather go by horse rules, but that would set us on collision course with everything ranging from an angry neighbour defending his rose garden to a heavy lorry coming our way at full speed, boldly claiming the road for himself.
Of course that does not mean that I have to be pushing, controlling every step of the way outside the premises. IÂ´d rather see it as a kind of protection for the following horse. On an interesting side note: in nature every herd has horses that fulfill a so called "inspector" role. In unknown, potentially dangerous situations they would lead and the others would follow. Those inspectors are usually of the lower ranks, but bold and nosy
. So if you donÂ´t want to see yourself as a leader, you can see yourself as an inspector (or cannon fodder really
For such situations I like to have a clear and already tested version of leadership at the ready that I can safely employ with my horse. That such a leadership does not have to be in conflict with concepts like AND was the purpose of some of my earlier posts.
I know very well the dilemma that all the talk about leadership can put you in. As Glen describes so fittingly:
Glen Grobler wrote:
This took all the ethical, moral and existential angst out of my interactions with my horses. It made us free to do what I had been trying to do all along - create a warm and trusting relationship that was expressed through harmonious physical action.
I have experienced this angst as a conflict between an internal need for trust and partnership and an externally induced need for having control over my horse. A long time I have lived in the misconception of this being two sides divided by an impassable gap. Now I believe that ONLY a trusting relationship and good reciprocal communication can lead to a kind of possible leadership that one can use in some situations to retain what we like to call "control". In fact that kind of "control" is nothing else than a friendly bond.
Volker -- re: conversations w/out leaders, I would highly recommend Bill Isaacs book, "Dialogue and the Art of Thinking Together"
Thanks Leigh! I really appreciate literature recommendations
. If someone has some good tip about leadership? Josepha maybe? Because the vast amount of books on that topic is intimidating me