The way we perform on the ground is identical to the way we ride. Ground work is learning how to dance. We then transfer the dance to the riding position. When we climb up onto the horse’s back, either for the first time or to introduce the new training to an already started horse, the horse will not have a clue about what we are going to do or ask of him. It is important as a horse trainer to know this.
The horse that is going to be ridden for the first time does not know he is going to be ridden especially for the rest of his life. If he did, he might complain a lot more. Also, sometimes a few weeks down the track, a horse may realise what is going on and put a buck in here or there.
The horse that is being re-educated is still to me like being ridden for the first time. And I will have to teach him the new method in the seat. This horse will only have memories of how he was last ridden. I will replace those memories with new ones. Gradually the new memories take over. That is how we fix up a problem horse.
All horses loose confidence once the handler steps up into the seat.
The horse doesn’t know that all the ground exercises he has learnt will become the same exercises with the handler in the seat.
The horse will struggle at first, but with knowledge and patience, he will soon come to understand that he knows what he is being taught. He will understand that if he listens to the rider, it is much easier for him to move and accomplish what is being asked of him.
The horse will say his way is best, especially the horse being re-educated. This horse will constantly try to tell you that his way is best. The rider has to have the knowledge and the skills to convince him that his ways are far more difficult using a lot more unnecessary energy and effort, not healthy for the wrong muscles are being worked and mentally frustrating for as the training progresses and it gets more complicated shape and form become more necessary.
Remember – most horses are lazy. We use this laziness to benefit us in our training.
The Foundation Training Method is a step by step approach. We can’t miss a step. We can add new steps in sequence as we are always being confronted with new problems that new horses bring to us. So we must work out how to solve these problems, gaining knowledge the best way we can.
If we miss a step, out future training will be effected and we will find some task just won’t come together. Eventually we are forced to back tract to find the missing step.
The training will flow, then stop. As a problem arises, we must solve that problem before we can move forward. Though this is the “power” of the “Foundation Training” creating a solid base of knowledge that will support us into the future.
Often a new problem can be solved by looking at the knowledge we already have in a different way. Often the difficulty of solving a problem can be due to the fact that we haven’t accurately worked out who the horse is (his true nature) because we may have decided too soon on his character. Once it come to us who our horse is, we will find we have the knowledge to solve the problem and move forward.
Sometimes, it may take me weeks to fully understand who a horse is eg: most recently, I have been helping my good friend train his cutting/camp-draft horse, taking them both through the method. The horse has been a joy. But she has a lot of anxiety and prances and wants to do everything in a rush (a year ago she was crazy)
Most horses who prance make the rider feel they want to bolt off so people hold them in. So I let them go and I teach the rider to let them go by teaching skills and exercises to deal with extra speed. With my friends mare, I thought that his previous owners had with plenty of spurs and ignorance ruined a beautiful minded horse.
Shane, Happy Riding…