The answer is TIMING – Timing is critical in our horses learning the right thing. If our timing is off the horses may learn the wrong thing. You see, horses learn from pressure and release and if the release is timed wrong the horse could learn the wrong thing. The release is what teaches. If you release at that right second when your horse tries to do what you are asking then he will learn correctly.
In other words, if you ask your horse to do something (start small when you are teaching something new) and he tries at that instant, STOP ASKING. We must be more ready to stop asking than to keep asking. Once your horse tries just stand for a few minutes. Don’t ask for or do anything else of him for a few minutes. Allow the horse to process what just happened.
This will cause him to begin thinking about what it is you are doing. What the horse will probably think is; ‘What did I do to get them to leave me alone?’ That is what is known as getting the right answer.
Now, when asking for something and you begin the pressure, begin as light as possible and then gradually increase the pressure until the horse does or attempts to do what it is you are asking and immediately stop. Each time you ask always begin at the lightest pressure you can give. If not, the horse won’t have anywhere to go back to. You don’t want your horse to be heavy on the hand or leg.
On the other hand, if the horse doesn’t do what you are asking or attempts to do or does something else and you release the pressure, that my friend is when the horse learns the wrong thing. It’s not that the horse is trying to do wrong (they don’t know right from wrong) it is doing what it is he thinks you are asking or the easy thing.
This is a very basic horse teaching principle. Pressure and release. Begin as light as possible and add increasing pressure (constant or rhythmic) until the horse does what it is you are asking.
Each time you are teaching, you have to be consistent in asking the same every time. You cannot be slacking in this area. It is called clarity of intent. You have to be clear and precise in what it is you are asking of your horse.