If we consider horsemanship as a partnership between human and horse, then both parties have responsibility. If we have established the human as the leader, then what is the horse’s responsibility? The horse’s role is then to follow the leader. The horse also has a vested interest because he is the one that is expending the energy! The horse needs to be part of the training process. They are capable of many things athletically, but you must include them in the mental part of things as well. The horse must be rewarded for any success. This reward is comfort and safety. This principle results in the horse willing to keep trying and ultimately, searching for that particular movement (or lack of movement, in the case of stop) of feet and legs that results in release of pressure (stimuli). Here is how we include the horse in the training process:
1. Listen to him.
2. Build a basis for communication. Ray Hunt always said, “Reward the smallest change and the slightest try.”
3. Always be consistent in your cues.
4. Expect and accept failure.
5. Build a foundation for success
This theme will be the basis for my next Horsemanship Clinic at Diamond TR Ranch on May 2- starting at 9:00 a.m. To register you may contact the Ranch at diamondtr.com. Contact me as well with your questions. This clinic is for riders that want to advance the confidence in themselves and take their horses to a higher training level – regardless of riding discipline.