We had reached a place where we were fairly comfortable with what we were doing. However, he lacked the willingness to put effort into some of the things he was asked to do. One of these things involved changing directions from a left circle to a right circle while doing ground manuvers. When he was asked for a more serious effort, rebellion reared its ugly head, to the point he thought about kicking me in the belly as he made the turn and moved ahead. With purposeful intent and applying necessary firmness, this was successfully worked through in just a short time. The changes became smooth both directions with his willingness to apply the effort needed and with a good attitude.
Today, Jim has no problems with being asked for a little or a lot. As a result of moving out of his comfort zone, and learning to yield with some effort, he is becoming more outgoing and confident in his surroundings and what is asked of him.
I have been working with a number of horses and their riders lately that are like Jim. There is a certain comfort level, but the horses are not good mentally. When riding these horses you can hardly raise your hand and wave hello to your neighbor. And heaven forbid that you can even get around one with the flag. Quite frankly, these horses are not gentle. They live on the edge of panic because they have not had proper education and support.
I want my horses gentle–not complacently asleep, but gentle with life and feel. It is our responsibility to provide the education and support that will enable the horse to live peacefully, while operating with life and feel, confident in us and what we are asking. That is why we have reins. They are our primary communication to the horse’s feet. Our thoughts pass through our hands, to the horse’s mouth, and then to his feet.
Peace and confidence comes to the horse when he knows we know.
Blessings and happy trails,