Training the Mind of the Horse and Rider

Training the Mind of the Horse and Rider
Click on Logo (Original artwork by Lanie Frick for Messick Quarter Horses. Not permitted to be copied)

Friday, January 28, 2011

Change and Rewards

"Change is for the better. How can people ignore what seems so obvious because it would mean change." The book, "The Soul of the Horse", talks about doing what is best for the horse, and our relationship with them. Use logic and knowledge wherever found, searching and finding out what works for you. Ray Hunt would say that he is here for the horse.

“Just as a rainmaker doesn't quit until it rains, don't quit until you have what you want”. Continue working with your horse until you get the desired results. As you build a confident horse, the horse will change for the better. You will change into the herd leader.

“Some people think they will hurt the horse’s feelings. This is simply leadership in action. You would actually be building respect as the leader.” How true! Horses aren’t people and don’t need what people need. Horses aren’t dogs and don’t need what dogs need. Horses need what horses need. And that is a leader. One that they can trust to lead them to safety.

All horses need a good sleep, and in the wild, they will go to the center of the herd and lay down, where they feel safe. It makes me think that we need a good sleep too, somewhere where you aren't thinking about the day or what to do, somewhere where you can fall into a deep sleep, waking up refreshed.

Communicate with your horse. Be safe while doing that. Move your horse around, gaining the respect of the horse. Begin to speak the language of the horse. Like Joe says in his book, "who moves who".

Horses will never be dishonest with you. I have always said horses are black and white, they will always let you know where they stand.

Are you black and white with your horse? Where are the gray areas? What will you do, specifically and not in a general way, to change the gray into black and white?

Change is necessary as we grow in our communication with the horse.

I guess I will work on the general area of patience, but more specifically work on slowing down when asking for each step of maneuver.

What about you? Change how you handle the horse, change how you ride, change how you communicate with the horse?

Change is good. We learn to be better horsewomen and leaders.

Just as rewards are good. Horses need to be rewarded when they try or when they accomplish something. And I think horses need to be rewarded a little, maybe in the form of backing off some, when they are bad, as you can’t keep the “punishment” going on forever. The horse’s reward is “release of pressure”. When the horse does something you want, has some try with what you want, doesn’t understand what you want, may be getting a little worse than what you want, THEN release the pressure. Go back to where the horse understands and start over. Slower.

Have you ever watch horses in a herd. Even a herd of 2 or 3. Sometimes they are not kind teachers. They bite and they kick. They can look really nasty. But they get the point across. Move or I will move you. Now, there is no gray in that look.

Then have you ever seen that horse, that gets nasty with another horse, stand beside that horse and swish flies or let them eat hay with him? What happens when the nasty horse walks away? The other horses follow. They know who is the leader.

Continue to learn as much as you can. With learning comes understanding. You’ll learn what works for you and your horse and what doesn’t.

But the learning may take time. Getting the respect from your horse may take time. Be patient and take the time that is necessary. If you rush yourself, you will get flustered. If you rush the horse, you will go back 2 steps.

“Are you a person of action?” If you make the decision or suggest a choice when you are in a group, people start looking to you to make the next decision or choice. Making a decision is acting on your thoughts. When you work with your horse, you need to decide what you want the horse to do. It’s ok if it’s not quite the right decision, because the next time you ask, you will change how you ask or what you ask for, and that is how to get to the right decision for you.

How should we act around our horse? How should we act when we ride? How should we act when we approach to catch or just to rub some? We should be confident and act the same way in all that we do. Act like you know what you want to accomplish, even if you are unsure. Don’t act unsure, act confident. Maybe, in the same way we take the pressure off the horse when the horse doesn’t understand what we want, take some pressure off yourself. Go back a step to where you know what you want and where you are confident. Remember, respect from the horse goes to the confident leader. Whether the leader is on the ground or on the horse.

Now we are full circle and it come down to communicating with the horse, in the horse’s language. No gray and white areas. Be the leader. The horse will respect you for it. And not only respect you, but want you to be the leader.

And the horse will chose you!

“Embrace the Journey!”


Rising Rainbow said...

I'm big on talking to my horses. I heard a trainer once say that talking is for the handler, not for the horse. The horse doesn't care if you talk to it. If it responds it's only because the talking made a change in the person and the horse responded to that change.

Well, I don't buy that. I don't know if it's just because I work with Arabians but my horses need talking. The sound of my voice soothes them. When they are learning something new and I say "good" they know what that means. They're on the right track. It makes it easier for them to get it right. IF they are frightened and I tell them it's OK, they respond to that too.

Horses Are Our Lives said...

Rr - I agree. Our voices can soothe a horse. I know horses respond to the tone and level of our voice. It does us no good to be loud and frazzled when our horses are being crazy and scared. Just the opposite is true!


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