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 lose confidence once the handler steps up into the seat.
The horse doesn’t know that all the groundwork exercises that the handler has taught him will be the same exercises the rider will use in the seat.
The horse will struggle at first, but with knowledge and patience, he will soon come to understand that he is being taught a better way. 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 thinks his way is best, especially the horse being re-educated. This horse will constantly try to tell you that is the best way for him. The rider has to have the knowledge and the skills to convince the horse that his ways are far more difficult and will use a lot more unnecessary energy and effort, it’s not healthy for the horse as the wrong muscles are being worked and it’s mentally frustrating for the horse as the training progresses becomes more complicated and the shape and form become more necessary.
Remember – most horses are lazy. We have to use this laziness to benefit us in our training.
The Foundation Training Method is a step by step approach. We can’t miss a single 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, our future training will be affected and we will find some tasks just won’t come together. Eventually we are forced to backtrack 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 my “Foundation Training” creating a solid base of knowledge that will support you 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 becomes clear 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/campdraft 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. Personally, I let them go and I teach the rider to let them go by teaching skills and exercises to deal with extra speed. With this mare, I thought that her previous owners used plenty of spurs and ignorance I felt that it ruined a beautiful minded horse.
Whilst at a camp-draft recently, I had the opportunity to prepare her for her draft. Then all of a sudden, I Realised who she was. I was then able to formulate a strategy to help her deal with her anxiety. When she pranced, she didn’t want to go fast. She wanted to go, she wanted to do what the rider asked of her, but didn’t want to go forward into the unknown and so her energy became stored up and kept ready to go, thus the prancing.
I had to show her, it wasn’t necessary to produce so much energy. There was no real reason for her to feel threatened by her surrounding environment. We can only teach them this by letting go and exuding confidence and by raising her energy levels a little bit at a time, then re-tract the energy by doing the exercises to control her head position and body shape on a loose rein. Whether at a trot or canter, it doesn’t really matter. I cantered her around the camp keeping her on the fence through the shoulders on a loose rein using the head down cue. I then cantered her in and out of the camp and around the outside arena. All areas until she did it on a loose rein and with head down. Which means her confidence level had risen to a point where she might enjoy chasing a cow, which she did, she became an awesome horse.
A horse is reading us far more accurately than we are of them. Their language is reading of the body. Which is their most powerful tool for survival.
Allowing the horse to take responsibility for their behaviour. Self Elevation.
The groundwork tools and exercises will help us obtain the correct head position making it easier for the horse to go forward, backup, stop, side pass, walk, trot, canter etc whatever we ask of our horse, remember head position is everything.
NOTE: we teach our horse to find and hold the correct head position helping the horse to realise that its much easier for them using our way and so begins the process where our horse takes responsibility for his actions and behaviour. A pathway to less resistance.
The bridle is a better tool than a halter.
Happy and Safe riding, Shane
For more information on my method please check out my Video on Demand series…