Improving your Ground Work with the Horse

The BOX is not a solution. It is one of the many ingredients that go into creating an opportunity for a two-way conversation with the horse.

The "Box"

I developed the concept of "the Box" because I was finding too many people wanting to be polite and kind in the communication with their horse, but were lacking specificity, boundaries, or spatial awareness.

The concept of the Box was to give the human a mental image of where they needed their horse to be to communicate clearly without being distracted by the horse's counteroffers of often leaking, fleeing, drifting, or pushing into them movement.

When we start, the BOX is a stationary concept with the horse is at a standstill, with the goal being that the horse's brain and body are staying within the imaginary boundaries.

One purpose of the BOX is to "create" time for the human to assess the horse's communication through his subtle body language and patterned behaviors.

The BOX helps folks that are unintentionally reactive or "waiting" for dramatic or unwanted movement before intervening, so their timing and communication is late.
It also allows for the human to practice things like learning how to proactively direct the horse's thought or redirect his focus before asking for movement.
It is an Opportunity for the human to practice checking in with the horse to both visually recognize if there is a physical brace, and to learn how to feel any heaviness on the lead rope.

It is a safe place to address the horse's defensiveness towards physical and spatial pressure.

It allows for the follow-through to help drain any tension or physical resistance whether it be in the horse’s poll, jaw, neck, shoulders, legs, or hindquarters.

It helps refine specifity as to where the horse needs to be mentally and spatially, is an evaluation opportunity to recognize defensive equine feedback or potential physical tension, and can create time for a pause in both the person and horse to mentally process what happened in the communication.

It is the segment or a link between one moment and the next, with that creates a non-critical, emotionally neutral, safe place for the horse "to be."

As a herd animal, this makes sense to him as it is the same feedback he would be getting if he was in with a group of horses.

The BOX eventually transfers into forward movement and riding.

Follow up regarding a question about the BOX concept...

If you're visualizing the Box as the goal being the horse is not moving, then you're missing the point. The goal is to be able to influence the horse's thoughts before his movement.

Most people are continuously chasing after the horse trying to "catch up." I have found using the visualization tool of the Box, allows people to be more proactive in addressing the horse's brain, rather than fixating on trying to contain unwanted movement after the fact.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for visiting my blog and leaving a comment!