Adaptability with our horse while maintaining our Standards

As I'm gearing up to head out across the ocean to my next clinic, I was thinking about my own "preparations" for myself and what I'll be teaching to the mixture of Western, Dressage, and Eventing participants.

At this point due to both horse and non-equine-related travels I've circled the globe many times, and there is a certain acceptance and understanding that nothing will typically "go as planned." Travel delays, weather interruptions, horse troubles, etc. will challenge even the best pre-planned itineraries. And I'm okay with that.

And perhaps that is why in a seemingly unlikely pairing, my travel adventures (mishaps) support my ability to adapt to the horse. Don't get me wrong, there ARE some things (like the lines made from mowing the property) that I'm OCD about.

But I have found that when it comes to the interaction with sentient beings, such as the horse, the more "rigid" folks are with their expectations, the more the conversations feel like they are devolving into screaming matches with the horse.
I know I write and discuss frequently having a standard for when we work with our horse, but I want to remind folks that having one, does not mean at all "costs."

So if there is a day when your horse is struggling, the standard of "accomplishment" would not be the same as a day when he is feeling more confident or mentally available.

But what I'm referring to when I talk about having a standard, is the mental clarity offered by the human of what they want, how they communicate that to the horse, they are staying present in the moment to then assess what the horse's response was and to ask for any adjustments if necessary, such as in the example below.

The thought or movement asked of the horse may be to a lesser degree on a day that is bothersome to the horse, but how he responds, such as when you ask him to redirect his thought, needs not to be lessened. The response to when you pick up the rope, such as if he dives downwards against the pressure of it or pushes the rope out of the way, is still not acceptable, even if he is worried. The person following through and refining the horse's response until the horse finds that "soft" mental and physical response is not decreased, rather the amount of "stuff" that is asked of the horse, is.

BUT what would be adaptable on a worrisome day to the horse, would be if once he could try and "hear" you directing his thoughts, and perhaps then responded to your requests offering a few specific steps reasonably, that you accepted that, rather than asking a whole lot more of him. Perhaps on that day, you adapted your working with the horse to stay just within the pasture or shorten the length of the session.

Because the reality is for most folks they don't "have" to accomplish something specific on most riding days. And they need to be reminded that if they are unable to help their horse get to the emotionally calm and quiet place, and all that they focus on is doing what they had pre-planned before they even saw their horse's mental state that day, they are now challenging their horse to get "it" right, and this gets a lot of folks in trouble and causes more defensiveness in the horse.

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