Unloading the Horse from the Trailer or Lorry- Human Perceptions

I recently had a horse arrive from Montana for training and it was a good reminder of some things I've noticed over the years.

Frequently, especially if loading the horse initially was stressful or concerning for both human and horse, when folks arrive somewhere they tend to want to rush when unloading and "hurry" to get the horse to the new stall or pasture.

Why the one size fits all "Horse Training Program" can be detrimental

Someone in this group recently shared the following comment to my starting vs breaking the horse post: "This really resonates with me. Today I tried a new trainer, something away from my usual showjumping. A ‘natural horseman’ trained in XXXX. I felt my horse was being bombarded with stressful pressures resulting in With him bolting in the arena as his only means of ‘release’, then when cornered, my horse smashed through the gate to escape. I have been informed my horse has no respect for me. I feel so lost."
So I thought I'd share my thoughts... Unfortunately, this isn't unique... I meet a lot of folks who have tried a "trained" professional who has learned through a specific "program."

Lining up the horse to the Mounting Block Video

Conversations at the Mounting Block

Thought I'd share my version of asking a horse to line up at the block.

This is not about the act of the mare lining up, this was the first time I'd asked her to do so without touching the reins. This is an example of what the interaction can be like when pre-establishing effective tools to offer two-way clear communication.

The Quality of the Conversation affects the outcome of the task, such as when mounting.

Reminder I do my LIVE weekly #chitchat from the farm video on FB on Wednesdays, 8am pdt, 3pm gmt. Join me in the private group on FB HERE . If you miss the live version, it will be available for replay at later times.

If you'd like to learn more about improving the Conversations and partnership with your horse, there are lots of Remote Horse Coaching options including video sessions, group coaching, horse webinars and more. 

Language influencing the Quality of our Horsemanship

"My horse is stubborn"
"My horse doesn't want to work."
"My horse is ornery."
"My horse is fine until he is psycho."
"My horse knows what he should do, but just doesn't want to do it."
"My horse loves me."
"My horse tries to scare me sometimes."

Breaking a horse vs. Starting One

I recently was working a horse and a client had brought their son-in-law, who had been raised breaking horses. It was interesting in the conversation I was having in explaining the difference in breaking a horse and created a constant containment. Besides the obviously physically aggressive manner in doing things, I was explaining when "starting" a horse how it would affect everything that would follow in the interaction with the horse.

Are you giving your horse clear indication as to what you want?

The Blinker

I use a comparison of driving a car similar to riding.
Imagine making a turn in your vehicle.
First, you'd use your blinker or turn indicator.
Then you'd turn the steering wheel a specific amount to get the tires lined up with where you want to travel.
Last you'd add a varying degree of the gas pedal.
With horses, it should be the same.
Give warning as to where you'd like for them to move.
Turn their head towards the direction making sure the are looking and thinking towards the designated spot.
Then add energy to have them move towards where they are looking.
Most folks with their horse have no blinker, very little steering and a whole lot of gas pedal.
Then they critique the horse for not getting it right.
In this shot, I'm using my left "blinker" to get Sally's thought to her left, as seen with her left ear acknowledging me.

Ponying... Continuation of the Conversation 

 I find many folks interpret the act of riding one horse and ponying the other as a way to get the unridden animal to follow the other one. This can create mindless movement in the ponied horse and contribute to what seems to him willingly complying, but is not thoughtful, mentally available interaction. 

 I use ponying as an opportunity to continue the Conversation I'd started with the horse while initially working from the ground. This includes directing the ponied horse's thought, specificity of his movement and his energy. 

 There should be no drag on the lead rope, the ponied horse should not be staring at my riding horse avoiding the world around him, and he should not feel challenged by working alongside another horse. 

 The tool of ponying a horse can expand his understanding and acceptance of spatial and physical pressure, can offer him the chance to learn to interact with the human despite another horse nearby, and allow him to search for how to address the human's input. 

 Too many folks don't prepare either the riding or the ponyied horse and things can quickly escalate into unnecessary stressful and potentially dangerous situations when concepts like softening to pressure, letting go of a thought, pausing to check in with the human haven't been established beforehand. 

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