Keeping Perspective to Accomplish Goals

Too often folks have laser focus on task accomplishment rather than assessing if they have the necessary "pieces" in order to present a specific scenario to the horse.

Here are some common examples:

Trying to get the correct canter lead, but not noticing if they can first influence the horse's thought, shoulders, hips, and energy level at the trot.

Wanting to "conquer" riding past a scary object, but not noticing or putting value to the initial indicators when the horse is beginning to show concern, if his breathing change, his energy increases, etc.

Attempting to improve the quality of the halt while sitting in the saddle, but not noticing that while tied, groomed, tacked or mounted the horse is continually moving.

Riding out with the goal of achieving going a farther distance  from the barn area but not noticing the drifting movement or inconsistency in the horse's energy because his brain and body are thinking about his herd at the barn rather than where he is currently physically at.

So, how can you better prepare both yourself and your horse for any future scenario?

First, think through the specifics of how and what you would like to communicate with the horse. Too many times people do not associate that they continually offer vagueness in their communication, which creates both resistance and unwanted behaviors  in their horse.

Next, assess how your horse responds to your aids. If he is defensive or unclear, you need to address this, otherwise you have no way to communicate effectively. Folks are shocked no matter how much "training" a horse may have, that so many horses rarely have specific, soft and quality direction or brakes.

If your horse shows resistance or unwillingness such as pulling,  heaviness on the reins, you having to ask for a response multiple times, etc., then the initial task or goal needs to be aside, until you have addressed each distracted thought  your horse has had or each behavior he has tried.

Once you have helped him through his "checklist" of things he came up with, he'll then be able to "hear" what what it is that you are asking of him.

If you don't address unwanted thoughts and behaviors from him, he'll fixate on those and will be unwilling to try and address whatever it is that you are asking of him.

You'll also have to learn to follow through and assess if once your horse addressed you, had he become defensive for doing so. Many times this appears as a horse who physically rushes in his movement- such as after a correction, after a jump, out of the halt, before or after a transition, etc.

If your horse is "fleeing" throughout the session, he will have a limited ability to try and the interaction will feel like a fight. This experience leaves both the rider and the horse tentative and defensive.

But IF people learn to refine what they are asking of their horse AND address his mental focus along with the quality of his physical participation,  they will be building a solid foundation for the partnership to be built upon. Learning to prioritize influencing the horse's thought then energy with effective communication, creates a horse that is mentally available to hear the handler or rider's opinion.

This leads an equine partner whose confidence increases for every interaction he has with the human. This then transitions into accomplishing goals with the horse as an enjoyable experience, rather than with a continual weariness as to "what may happen."

To find out more how Sam can help you and your horse address your goals, visit her Remote Horse Coach site.

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