Sunday, August 2, 2015

The Horse Must Move To Learn

A horse that is hard to catch is frustrating. A horse that cannot be driven easily away is dangerous. A horse that will not move when cued to is not lazy or stubborn--it is refusing to recognize human leadership.

In the horse world power is recognized simply--the horse that can make other horses move their feet is the leader. Some horses simply refuse to move in a round pen. That is not good--it does not show how gentle the horse is--it shows how little regard the horse has for the trainer's leadership.

To move the horse use escalating pressure and release. Never simply take a lunge whip and beat the ground endlessly without causing the horse to move. Doing so simply converts the whip into a desensitizing monster to be ignored. In the same vein, let the whip rest the moment the horse begins to think about considering the possibility of complying.

Be rhythmic and perfectly consistent. I strike the ground twice--the second time with more force than the first. Only then will I give the horse a pop on the hips with the lunge whip.

In very short order the horse learns that if he moves when the first cue comes there will never be a second, mush less the need to make contact with the whip.

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