The Godmother Concept
First published May 2010
I have spent hours discussing behaviour with Nick Sanders, a really great horseman, and the inventor of the Magic Rope. ( I can sell you a cut price version, if you are interested) and we came to the conclusion that horses and ponies just weren’t fooled by us pretending to talk horse. We are clearly missing a couple of legs and proper ears.
Given these deficiencies, trying to pretend to be the alpha male, while being the human equivalent of a unidexterous deaf mute, is going to be exceedingly hard work. But pretending to be God is a lot easier. Gods always look a bit weird, and their behaviour is not what you would expect in polite company.
Try asking your host to sacrifice a couple of virgin daughters and throw a few thunderbolts at the slightest provocation, it doesn’t go down well in Notting Hill.
So the trick is to persuade your pony that you are omniscient, all powerful etc. This is done on a regular basis by parents, throughout the animal kingdom. For some considerable time, children believe in the magiclal power of their parents.
But there is another factor. Richard Dawkins in the selfish gene looks at the selfish interests of the gene, and the concept that from a gene’s point of view, sacrificing your life to save the lives of three of your children, makes sense. This is based on each child having half of your genes, therefore three children is one and a half of a parent.
It is this logic which makes parents defend their children, even at great personal risk. The fact that you like the little creeps might factor somewhere as well. But parenting is not about dominance for the sake of it, or for the extra food and sex as in alpha male dominance. Parents use force to keep the brats safe, not to establish dominance. They just are dominant.
By combining the attributes of a supreme being, ie being allowed the wrong number of limbs and wiggly appendages, like the Great Spaghetti Monster, and the loving, caring, but forceful if necessary attributes of a parent we get
Then tacking on another complete layer of complexity, the PANIC concept from Animals Make People Human, (Grandin’s book), which suggests that PANIC is separation anxiety, we have a really useful training and working tool for ponies. Stand close and be kind, and positive, and occasionally ask the pony to tidy its stable, and you are THE GODMOTHER. Therefore no separation anxiety, therefore , although fear may be present, PANIC won’t be.