Isn’t it something, we find an activity we love doing and we can’t get enough or we can’t wait until we get to do it again. We wish there was, somehow, a fast track, a fast way of becoming successful.
I do too. I wish there was a faster way to teach and instruct. I wish there was a faster way for horses to learn. I wish there was a faster way for horses to teach me.
I think all the fast food outlets, drive through restaurants, the microwave, and other things have helped to create an ‘I want it right now’ attitude. I have seen lots of people in many different locations and places having this “IT’S ALL ABOUT ME” attitude. We, as a society, are losing our patience, we are losing our caring for others, we are getting this attitude of ‘I am the one that matters’. When it comes to the microwave, it has become too slow; we don’t have all minute……
OK, sorry, a pet peeve.
When it comes to our horses, we can’t speed it up. We can’t get instant results. On the other hand, we can learn things we should and shouldn’t do VERY quickly without anyone getting hurt. Make it ALL about the horse.
There are a few things you should/shouldn’t ever do with your horse:
- Never keep pulling on your horse. The constant pull on a horse will cause a conditioned response of pulling back. Horses have an opposition reflex. They are into pressure animals. They feel to survive they must push through the pressure. Use Pressure and Release. Whether you are on the ground or in the saddle. Constantly pulling on the reins will cause a hard mouth if you are using a bit.
- It would be best not to try to teach something new to your horse past the trot. He won’t learn it and it will frustrate him. When he gets frustrated he will more than likely do something you won’t like. Back off and give him some time to think through what it is you are trying to teach.
- When working/playing with your horse it is a good idea to give him breaks periodically. Allow him to stand and reflect on what just happened. I tell my students, when you are asking your horse for something and he tries or he does it, to leave him alone. Take away the pressure. For instance, if you are teaching something from the ground and he does it, turn away immediately and allow him to think about what it is he just did. Don’t go to him and rub and pet, this will take his mind off what it is youwant him to think about.
- I would suggest not getting into a fight with your horse. Nobody wins. It will only make him mad. If he gets mad (know the signs to look for in your horse), back way off with your pressure.
- When you come upon a problem with your horse don’t keep pushing him to get through it. This could cause the problem to become bigger. Lighten up, soften up and go back to teaching the basics again. Start in the beginning again.
- Always stop at a positive spot with your horse. You will begin the next session where you left off. If you are trying to teach your horse something new and he just doesn’t get it, first, you keep your composure, and before the horse gets mad and frustrated go back to something he knows and finish there. Begin the next time on a positive.
- Invest LOTS OF TIME teaching your horse to give in to the pressure. Whether it is Lateral Flexion (for the one rein stop) or simple turning off the pressure you apply, or stopping and backing. Take the time he needs and begin as softly as possible. If you begin too heavy your horse won’t have any softness to go back to.
These suggestions are very important. I hope you commit them to memory and use them each time you are with your horse. If you get only one thing here, get this, SLOW DOWN to speed up.