Meet Anita and Hansa.
Anita took it upon her own initiative to purchase Hansa and train her using ‘natural horsemanship’ methods which many were initially sceptical about, when they first emerged over a decade ago.
Flash forward fourteen years, the two haven’t looked back since and have a bond and spiritual connection that is stronger than ever.
What does Hansa mean to you?
Hansa is one of the best things that has happened to me. She has taught me so much.
Thanks to her I have learnt patience and determination, because sometimes horse training is like watching grass grow.
You need to take small baby steps until you are proficient and receive the results you set out to achieve.
You also need to be able to read a horses body language to fully understand how to support them in the learning process.
It is a never-ending learning curve which enables you to essentially grow with your horse.
Why did you decide to buy a horse?
I had always wanted to own a horse ever since I was a child.
Because I wasn’t able to do that when I was younger, I decided when I was an adult and started to earn my own money, to give it a try.
So I started attending horse riding classes.
Although I enjoyed riding, I didn’t really respond well to the way I was taught to do this in class.
I felt like I wanted to experiment with much more than just the regular horse riding in the arena.
During that time (approximately 15 years ago) a new trend was emerging that is best described as ‘natural horsemanship‘, which is essentially a less restrictive training regime that is founded on building a solid relationship and communication skills with your animal.
I really wanted to experiment with their methods and techniques, but it wasn’t possible with a rental horse from a sports stable.
Traditional horsemen were also very sceptical about this new horse training approach that had newly emerged.
So, I decided that I needed to buy a horse to properly learn about horse psychology and to conduct my own one-on-one training the way I wanted to.
Long story short, I bought Hansa and we have been together for 14 years ever since.
Do you ride competitively?
No, I don’t ride competitively.
Partly because my horse has health issues that doesn’t allow her to be put in physically demanding situations.
I’m also not really interested in the competitions that are available in Latvia, which is where I am from.
The two main disciplines in competitive horse riding are dressage and jumping. But I am not interested in either of them.
However, I am considering entering my horse into agility competitions that are available online. I think it would be a fun new experience for Hansa and I.
What is something unique and distinctive about Hansa?
Initially when I bought her, she was very reluctant when it came to trusting people and didn’t feel comfortable and safe in her own enviroment.
She was actually called crazy because of her uncontrollable and impulsive behaviour.
Her previous owners told me that we would never be able to go on a trail ride together because of her behaviour.
However, after some training and a little love and care, I now even let my seven-year-old child ride her.
And, of course, we go on trail rides together too.
She has become so calm, trusting and reliable thanks to the correct training and proper communication, which are essential when building a relationship with a pet.
In my opinion, her uniqueness is the ability to overcome her fears and willingness to learn and trust me.
It’s very touching to watch how she is trying, learning and adapting to new things and how she interacts with new obstacles despite her fears and initial scepticism.
What do you love most about her?
The greatest moments are when I know we are having a mental connection and understand each other without words or the help of equipment.
And we can interact and communicate in liberty. It feels so calming and therapeutic, almost like meditation.
What does being a pet owner mean to you?
It is a great responsibility because I am fully in charge for my horse’s wellbeing both physically and mentally.
I believe that horses must be given four freedoms.
Firstly, the freedom to have unlimited access to forage and water.
Secondly, to move in a sufficient and large open space.
Thirdly, to interact with their horse-friends in that space.
And lastly, the freedom from pain.
My responsibility as a horse owner is to give her these four freedoms and my obligation as a pet owner is to understand horse psychology.
I need to find the best ways to gently communicate with her in a way she will be most responsive, and in a format she will understand, which shows mutual love and respect.
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