Communication is one of the big keys in horsemanship. Communication is about preparing the horse and learning ways to make the right thing obvious so he’ll understand what you’re trying to convey to him. It’s about learning how to listen to your horse. It’s about improving your own feel and timing. It’s about trying to look at things from the horse’s perspective, and presenting your idea in a manner that makes sense to him. There is a big difference between a horse moving to avoid pressure, and a horse that is following a feel, seeking the release. Evading pressure is avoidance, and creates resistance. A horse that is following a feel and searching for a release is a horse that is thinking, and is much more likely to be supple and soft.
1. Where do you start the communication with your horse? The answer is on the ground! Foundation in groundwork will help to build a secure, confident, relaxed, and supple horse. The human can establish himself in the leadership role.
2. The next step is to apply the groundwork training to the saddle. It is important that your cues be consistent or else the horse will become confused. Your hands have to be relatively in the same position as on the ground. This means low hands. Also, leg cues must correspond to the same pressure points as used on the ground.
3. The next principal in successful horsemanship is to apply the aids (pressure) and release immediately when the horse responds.
4. Give your horse a job to do. Allow him to build his trust and respect for you, while you develop your feel, timing, and balance. When a problem arises, you are in a better position to know how much to ask to solve the problem.