Posted by Irina Yastrebova on Friday, August 24, 2007 03:07 PM
There are many factors that can lead to an "incorrect" response from a horse, even if we think our horse knows the aids. Few of them are:
  • The aids are confusing (we are out of balance, using reins for support etc)
  • Our horse is not paying attention to us
  • He is out of balance
  • We are not consistent in accepting our horse's response. Sometimes we are OK that he is lazy or not really sharp and sometimes we want him to be really on the aids. How is he supposed to know what is right?
Our horse will not understand our frustration. If we punish him he will not understand why, he will only remember pain and fear.
If your horse's response wasn't satisfactory, work with him until you get the response you like. Make sure you are being reasonable and pay attention to your expectations. Change them slowly and according to his progression in training. For example, do not start demanding correct lengthening of a stride if you always were OK with quick and short steps. Everything in riding takes time. Study your horse and get to know him. Make your priorities and work on them in a logical progression. Do not skip steps just because you are impatient or bored. Make a plan that takes into consideration months, years, not days or weeks. Training horses is a lot like raising kids. Enjoy the process, pay attention to little things. Use your imagination and work with him not against him. Look at things from his point of view. And remember he is not a tool for your ambitions, he is your partner, your colleague and hopefully your friend.
It is easier said then done. I'm still struggling to control myself when I really want things to happen. I'm much better on the ground. I have been handling my horse in the way I have described and he is now so much better in many ways. When I am in the saddle I'm still learning to control my emotions. They are my biggest obstacle.
Happy riding...
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My blog is about teaching, riding and training. I share what is important to me in my work with horses and riders. The writing helps me to think things over and have a better understanding of training ideas and priciples.
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