EQUINE FOUNDATION TRAINING PROGRAM by Shane D Olver – Master Horseman prt2

True leadership is about overcoming fear and to maintain calm and confident throughout the process in order to move forward.

A leader has the ability to encourage others to do the same.

Note to Remember: Understanding the importance of head position

Head Position is everything for both the horse and the rider or handler. We develop the muscle structure to support the head allowing the horse to carry his head in the correct position.

***All of the tools the horse uses against us are totally reliant on his head position***

So we can train the right muscles for the benefit of both the horse and the rider or we can allow the horse to build and train the muscles he can use against us.

The horse: understand how our hand affects the horse. **we train a horse’s mind, not his mouth**

Remember… Stiff Hands – stiff horse.

Gripping or holding the reins too tight applies too much pressure to the horse’s mouth.

  • His jaw will tighten
  • His head will lift above the desired position (pole level with the wither)
  • His pole braces and locks
  • His muscles lock
  • His breath shortens
  • His spine locks, right down to this tip of his tail
  • His back hollows out
  • His hocks extend out behind him and lock
  • The weight of his upturned head and neck push down onto his shoulders.
  • This weight combines and pushes down onto his knees and they lock up.
  • Hand brake goes on
  • No forward motion
  • No balance

*Understanding how the energy in a horse flows.

The energy of a horse comes from his hind quarters (the engine room) and flows like a small stream through the body and out of his nose. The position of the nose determines the action and the direction of the horse’s energy and movement.

**If we have control of the horse’s nose, then we control the horse**

If a horse lifts his nose above the desired position, his energy will go up and back out through his tail. Even if he only lifts his nose a few millimetres it would only be for a brief moment but it would still send the energy backwards and out through the tail.

When a horse pushes his nose down below the desired height, the energy will also flow backwards and out through his tail.

In both cases, the horse that lifts or drops his head locks up his front knees and loses forward motion. In this situation when the rider/handler pushes the horse’s energy forward, like a rock in a stream, this energy can only go up and backwards. The horse’s action will be to either rear or mini rear, leap forward (for his knees are locked) this could result in a pig root or buck. He may run out sideways through his shoulder or spin or rush backwards. He may tip over backwards. He may rear pirouette, spin and fall over side ways etc.

**It is important to realise that what is happening is the horse’s energy is trying to escape.*

Remember… the horse uses his head position as a powerful tool to control his human handler or rider.

A horse will also use the lifting or the lowering of his head to cheat or assist himself in bucking up or stopping. Due to the fact that the horse doesn’t know any better and due to the lack of knowledge of the rider or handler.

It is necessary to teach a horse to collect, to stop and to back up on their hocks as collection lifts the weight off their front shoulders giving the rider/handler the ability to work the muscles from impulsion etc. The horse quickly learns that it is an easier and more economical way to move.

NOTE: if a horse does raise or lower his head in a stop or backup, he actually pushes the energy back from his knees. Which creates a proppy stop and or a jerky backward motion. Which in both cases does not allow the horse or rider/handler to immediately go back into forward motion.

The overall effect of improper head and body position is to lame the horse and have an unhappy time.

**If we are not training the right muscles, then we are building the muscles for the horse to use against us**

Understanding a horse’s Instincts

Remember – A horse, when agitated, must move his feet. He has no choice; flight or die

Most riders/handlers try to force a horse to stop or stand still when their horse is agitated. In this training, we allow our horse to move, but only to do the exercises we have taught him. Which he becomes very good at, it settles him down and pleases him to do something he is good at. We solve our problem through working the horse correctly.

When a horse raises or lowers head, he is looking for a way to avoid our hands. Rearing, bucking, running backwards, spinning bolting etc is all about taking control out of the humans hands. These are the horses tools, equally important to him as ours are to us.

Our job as trainers/coaches is to take away his tools and provide new, more efficient ones that will provide a far better life for both the horse and rider/handler. We have to prove this to our horse through action, ie training methods, exercises, understanding horse’s language and culture etc we have to teach him that our way is better and will provide more power to him than the tools he presently uses.

The tools that the horse uses against us are his way of maintaining some control or power in his relationship with humans. More often than not, most humans demand the horse learn their language and culture and yet we don’t compromise by learning the horse’s language and culture which then creates confusion, anger, resentment, depression etc.

It is impossible to fully understand the culture of horse’s without knowing their language, therefore, it’s important to educate yourselves, learn to and love your horse, be with him and don’t just think if you see him once or twice a week that he will know you when you come to ride him, horses are very social creatures and need to have contact with you, on a daily basis if you can manage it.

I hope you have gained some insight into my training philosophy, if you would like more information please let me know or conversely you can check out my Vimeo videos on demand where you can rent or buy my training method at a great price.

my updated website will soon be up and running, stay tuned.

I wish you all happy and safe riding, Shane

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