Goals vs Quality
It is very easy to fall into a pattern of setting goals and getting fixated on accomplishing them to feel successful with the horse.
In more scenarios than not, the goal is frequently prioritized over assessing if there's quality during the interaction with the horse.
I will often hear people excitedly telling me about how much they have accomplished with the horse.
Then as I watch their equine's behavior and see things like: chomping on the bit
fidgeting or excessive movement
inability to stand still (mentally and physically)
avoidance at being caught/ led/ tacked/ loaded into the trailer loading or mounted
or if every time the halter is removed the horse goes running off
All of the above behaviors "tell" me a lot more about how and what the horse has been experiencing mentally, emotionally, and physically during the human interaction, despite "accomplishing" the human's goals.
Without recognizing and addressing the root cause(s) creating the above defensive behaviors, the more goals that are set for the horse, the more chaotic the sessions will be.
Each interaction will be teaching the horse anticipation, avoidance, and perhaps fear.
I'm all for setting (realistic) goals based on the human and horse's current abilities.
I'm even more for first building a quality foundation in which the two-way communication is clear, specific, supportive, and addresses any of the horse's potential fear or defensiveness.
Every interaction either builds or diminishes the horse's confidence his willingness.
As the human chooses to change their priority from focusing on the final outcomes to refining the small, crucial aspects of offering quality, segmented, specific communication, the horse's chaos begins to decrease.
When they recognize, acknowledge, and addresses the horse's feedback in a manner that builds his trust and try, the goals are easy to accomplish.