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Despite a horse going through the motions of exposure and learning, does not mean that his confidence is increasing, irrelevant of all of his new experiences.
New Year New Goals- Assessing and Improving the Equine Partnership
I came with these six GOALS to help equine enthusiasts keep perspective when assessing their horse relationship.
I see so many horse people posting photos and referring to the horse like the animal is an accessory.
The focus tends to be on the human agenda, rather than addressing the Quality of what THE HUMAN is bringing to the Equine Partnership.
Too many riders are so very quick to critique the horse without ever acknowledging how their own grey-area, inconsistent, unfair communication is influencing the unwanted responses in the equine.
Buying and selling a variety of different horses isn't going to "fix" anything if the person is still unable to recognize, believe, and address horse behavior nor will it improve their skill-set.
Perhaps let's make the GOAL for the upcoming year to focus on improving ourselves rather than blaming the horse.
Without meaning to, as a person is trying to mentally assess, process, and physically coordinate their communication with the horse, they may also be conveying unintentional signals to their horse.
This adds unnecessary confusion when attempting to change old patterns in the interaction.
So here's a checklist for My TOP 5 Physical Assessment Opportunities of yourself any time you work with your horse, but especially if you feel out of your "comfort zone."
Over the years I've had many people comment on experiences learning from me, even after just one session.
In this humorous video, Samantha Harvey recreates a variety of excerpts from discussions she has had with students over the years. This video is not limited to trail riders but is relevant to all horseback riding disciplines. There is always a choice between quality horsemanship and hurrying to accomplish the task or goal. 99.9% of unwanted horse behaviors are human-created. If we learn to take the time and prioritize quality, we can accomplish so much more with a mentally available, physically reasonable, and adaptable horse.
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Each day Sam will share a Daily Tip that you can incorporate into your horsemanship. Join her on INSTAGRAM and participate in each of the day's topics to enter to win a free 1:1 Coaching Session.
"Here’s a happy update. I took your multi-part web series on trust last spring and it made all the difference in the world. Seeing you work with other horses was the key for me. I’m not completely there yet, but Sunny is way more trusting. I can call her out of the field, call her over, gently move her around, better control in the round pen, etc. I’ve done a lot of riding in the pasture practicing turns, whoa, and even backing-up. No punishment, just encouragement. She’s good in the pasture even if she can’t see the other horses.
I’ve gotten a few riding tips from friends and am doing better in the saddle. Very little pulling on her mouth. I take long trail rides and her fear level is way down. Yesterday we rode through some tightly spaced trees and had no problems at all. My biggest challenge is to slow her walk on the return trip. Sunny pretty much knows when we’re looping back and that’s when she starts rushing. However, we had a breakthrough on that yesterday. Hardly any rushing on the whole ride. Thank you so much for helping me build this relationship with my horse."
Bill USA 2021
Dear Sam: Horse Help Horsemanship Series
Horse Transitions - Mental and Physical
Most horses I meet fall into two categories:
*Fearful or defensive (tight, rigid movement) to go forward
*Hypersensitive and overreacting with fast, fleeing movement
Over various sessions here are some of what I look to address in re-educating the horse.
Horse Training and Desensitizing Alternative Horsemanship with Samantha Harvey the Remote Horse Coach discusses the dangers of not believing the horse's fear, defensiveness, and concern and how some training approaches can create dangerous behaviors in the animal.
Misconceptions of a Circle
One of the most misused "techniques" I have found is how people present asking the horse to move around a circle.
Horsemanship: Reviewing The Release
As with everything much left to interpretation when it comes to terminology in association with horses. I try to be clear and precise in the words that I'm offering, but there still can be a gray area in the human student's understanding.
"Following a Feel"
Those words had no value to me all the years I interacted with the horse unintentionally offering continuous tension- on the lead rope, on the rein, in my leg, etc. There was never any true release of pressure towards the horse (other than during a jump.)
Most people never consider how the horse responds to just the sight of tack or notice if there are Quality Conversations while doing so.
Each part of the interaction influences the mental reasonableness and physical softness that follows.
While the norm (often out of convenience) is to tie the horse while tacking, the degree of bother or concern a horse may have while doing so frequently is suppressed.
I suggest practicing tacking the horse without tying him. The goal is not about getting tack on.
It is an Opportunity to notice how your horse feels about standing while you are moving around him.
It also allows you to observe for things such as:
Does he mentally check out as you go to groom?
Does he pin his ears, shake his head, swish is tail, or display any other defensive behavior as you groom?
Does he step away or backwards when you swing the pad or saddle on?
Does he constantly avoid the tacking by diving down for grass?
When you tighten the cinch or girth does he swing his head at you, try to walk off, back away, etc.?
Does he act differently if you tack from one side versus another?
If you change the location of where your horse is as you tack does he suddenly act differently?
None of this is about the unwanted behaviors. Instead the undesired responses could be an indicator as to potential pain issues, holes in the foundation of the equine partnership, reflection of concern towards the upcoming ride, etc.
If the ride is prefaced with an experience (in this case tacking up) causing the horse to be in a state of anticipation, defensiveness, avoidance, flee, etc. how might that influence everything asked of him during the ride?
There is never a convenient time to address the horse's concerns, but the longer you avoid helping him, he is being taught he is own his own. This will cause him to start taking over and dictating how the interaction will go based on the lack of support, or even criticism from the human.
The horse only has so many subtle, reasonable behaviors to display his fear, concern, or anticipation. If you're not addressing it now, then when?