Wednesday, December 16, 2015
Understanding Pressure and Release
The horse is programmed to seek security above all. The root of insecurity is unpredictability. The horse must know that he is safe in order to perform at top levels--only then can he relax and enjoy the time that he is spending with other horses or people.
Trust is the fundamental building block for building the relationship with horses that people need.. For the horse that trust can only occur if the horse can feel, with absolute certainty, that their actions will produce predictable reactions by the person.
In short, the horse needs for the human to be perfectly consistent in his actions and reactions. That means that if the human wants a given response it must make precisely the same request every time. And the human must react precisely the same if the horse does not comply each and every time.
For example, I teach my riders to go through the following steps to make a turn--look,lean, leg, lift, and then and only, pull the rein. If this is done with perfect consistency one will develop a horse that will turn simply by having the rider look with focus in the direction that he wants to go.
Look intensely in the direction to which the horse should turn, then lean in that direction, then use the leg to push the horses hips away from the direction to be turned, then lift the rein on the side to which the horse is to be turned, and if the horse still is not turning pull the rein until it does so and instantly release the pressure as soon as the horse begins to consider thinking about the possibility of turning.
When this procedure is followed with perfect consistency the horse learns two vital lessons--if I turn when he looks I will get no further pressure, and equally important, if I do not turn the pressure will escalate and will only be released when I turn.
Consistency means every time--every time--every time.
Ninety percent of the time will not teach the horse--even ninety five percent will not. Your horse deserves for you to be consistent in how he is handled--every time.
Anything less than that is dishonest. The horse cannot rely on your actions if you are not consistent.
Relationships built on dishonesty are not worth much whether human/human or human/horse.
Posted by Steve Edwards