How To Catch Wild Horses

Gaining a sense of rapport with people is an art form that can be achieved in different ways.

This somewhat unusual way does provide a background to how it can be done slowly and effectively.

Imagine yourself in the Wild West days of America.  That’s about one hundred and fifty years ago. What you need is a reliable horse.

Before the arrival of Europeans, there were no horses in the Americas.  They were reintroduced to the continent by Spanish explorers in the 16th century.  The indigenous peoples of the Great Plains quickly recognised the utility and value of horses and began to incorporate them into their cultures.

They observed the behaviour of wild horses to understand their social structures. By understanding how horses interacted with each other, they could better approach and communicate with them.

The American cowboy wranglers had their way of domesticating horses that was quick and, to some degree brutal.

The herd were chased down, the horses lassoed and their legs tied together before they were branded. All in all a painful process. Branding was of course justified to keep rustling to a minimum.

The Plains Indians took a different approach. Their process took longer but was more humane and arguably more effective.

As the Indians had come to rely heavily on horses for transportation, hunting, and warfare, they believed that gaining rapport with wild horses was an essential prerequisite to their relationship. This approach ultimately led to the formation of strong bonds with their animals through care, respect, and companionship.

A close relationship between rider and horse was crucial for survival on the plains.

When Indians came across a herd of wild horses, they would remain at a respectful distance but within the herd’s peripheral vision.  They would spend long periods observing and approaching the horses slowly, allowing the animals to become accustomed to their presence.  

Gaining the trust of wild horses was an essential first step. This involved offering food to the horses to create positive associations or using slow, non-threatening movements.

As the herd moved on, the Indians would move with them, remaining at a visible distance, while gradually moving closer and closer.

It may take days but this would carry on until the Indians felt a sense of rapport had been reached between themselves and the herd.

At this point the Indians would turn and walk directly away from the herd. The horses responded to their new relationship by following the Indians back to their encampment.

Using this technique, capture of the horses took longer than the cowboy methods but assimilation was considerably easier as the horses had followed voluntarily.

Gaining rapport or mutual trust is rarely, if ever, achieved by force.

The internet has many articles on how to gain rapport with people. Schools of Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) will stress how rapport is essential for successful customer interaction.

Probably best not to lasso them first.

Dr. Elmar Jung

Dr. Elmar Jung
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