It is important to lay out your broad goals that you want to train for and then develop your training drills to build the finite maneuvers needed to execute the maneuvers required for a responsive, relaxed horse. I want to emphasize that I build the “parts of a machine” and then put the “machine” together when I need it. I do not try to train for a maneuver; I train to execute a maneuver.
Our tendency as human is to pull and hold – Wrong! All we accomplish is creating an anxious, nervous or even mad horse; and a frustrated human. The more we pull the more tense the horse becomes and we want the opposite – relaxation. We need to keep the horse’s feet moving and set him up with light rein control and leg pressure to collect up. By collecting him up (rounding his back) we make him drive deeper with his hock, thus, making him work harder. The result if we hold the cue, they’ll slow down. One thing I’m constantly stressing to riders is holding the cue long enough to get some semblance of your expected result before releasing the pressure. Always remember, where you release the cue is the point the horse seeks. If your release point is wrong, then you’ve created another layer of confusion for the horse you have to overcome. For example- you set up your horse correctly with hand and body yet you don’t immediately get the desired result – Hold that cue! If it’s a new cue, the horse will not know what you are asking for.
I have a very strong philosophical belief that recreational trail horses should be the most highly trained and responsive horses in the industry. Why? There are several reasons. 1) Safety. A safe horse is a broke horse. When you are riding on the trail you have little or no control of the circumstances that you may encounter. You need a horse that you can control with no resistance and little effort. 2) Enjoyment. You trail ride for recreation, relaxation and pleasure. What is fun about riding a horse that is unpredictable, uncontrollable and a nuisance to ride? 3) Comfort. Hours and miles in the saddle is physically challenging for even the most dedicated trail rider. Riding an unresponsive or belligerent horse increases the physical demands on the rider and reduces the time spent in the saddle.
Contact us to improve your horsemanship skills for basic horsemanship, ranch versatility events or improved trail riding experiences – Horsemanship Clinics – small or large groups. If you are interested in hosting a clinic, contact me for dates, cost, and horsemanship emphasis. I customize based on your interest and goals. stevejoneshorsemanship.com