In every aspect of training, what you want to do must always be more important to your horse than whatever he wants to do. The only way you can “fix” any problem is for your horse to think it’s more important to do what you want than whatever he wants. Your horse must concentrate wholly and solely on trying to work out exactly where you want him to go, the speed you want and the gait you want him to move in. Only when your horse concentrates wholly and solely on these things will you have full control.
Here are a few problems that I’m often asked about: The rider wants to go for a trail ride but the horse would rather stay near the barn. So the horse kicks up, pulls the reins and runs home. When this happens, what the horse wants to do is more important to him than what the rider asks.
The rider wants to ride down the road but the horse sees something in the bushes. The horse stops and looks, then snorts and runs away. Again, what the horse wants to do is more important to him than what the rider asks.
The rider wants to trot and canter some circles. The horse speeds up and cuts in on one side of the circle then slows down and drifts out on the other side. Again, what the horse wants to do is more important to him than what the rider asks.
The handler wants to load the horse into a trailer. The horse is worried, so he pulls back and rushes away. Yet again, what the horse wants to do is more important to him than walking into the trailer.
The good news is that no matter the problem, the solution is always the same. Instead of working on the so-called problem that you’re having, you must go back to basics. You must teach your horse that it’s always more important to do what you want than whatever he wants.
Instead of working on things you can’t do, always work on things you know you can do and build from there. Remember that one small step in the right direction is always better than getting into a confrontation. If you achieve one step in the right direction today, you may achieve two steps tomorrow, three the next day and on it goes. However, if you get into a fight with your horse, you can’t come along tomorrow and ask him to forget it.
One small (correct) step for your horse – one giant leap for your training.
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