Many of us who are into horses spend a lot of time and money going to lessons, clinic, demonstrations and seminars to learn whatever we can to improve our skills. Unfortunately we put to much of our efforts into learning techniques so we can learn how to tell the horse what we are asking instead of learning how to listen to our horse and feel their thoughts and emotions.
Have you ever watched someone use a technique that made the job look easy? Then you try it and it doesn't work as well or maybe not at all in some cases? If you ever wonder why it didn't work so well for you and it did for the other person. Its because the other person was more in tuned and aware of more things that were going on or present at the moment. What things, you might ask? Well the answer would be, EVERYTHING. Attention, awareness, energy, movement, location, posture, frame, emotions, direction, ability, just to name a few. We are truly multitasking when we work with our horse. It doesn't matter whether we are doing ground work or riding.
Techniques are very abundant. I have learned a dozen or more techniques for many of the things I do. The technique is not what trains the horse. What does is being able to have our intention clearly understood. The technique is the least important aspect in the equation. Sure we need to have a few that we understand and can do well. But we need to be more aware of everything elses so our timing will be better. Its a conversation. A 2 way conversation. Listen to them and respond to them appropriately. Be aware of their thoughts and emotions. As well as where you and your horse is and where you are both going. If you are just going in a general direction you are just, sort of asking, or sort of guiding. We want to be very clear and very precise. Not to be picky or demanding but to be extremely clear so they will have a better understanding of what you are looking for.
What you do and how you do it really doesn't matter all that much. And no matter what you do and how you do it, there is always room for improvement no matter what stage of understanding you are at.
I recently had a customer who was working with her horse and her horse was misbehaving. I said to her, "you need to address that." She asked me, "what should I do." I told her, "it doesn't matter." So now I can assume many of you have a very questioning look on your face just as she did when I said it. But really it doesn't .matter. The only thing that matters is that you address it and make sure your intentions are clear. Do whatever you think you can do at the moment that will get your point across. Sure there are better options in some cases than in others. But your timely resonce and being clear is the most important aspect.
If there is one thing that makes me frown a little its when someone says, "my trainer said when a horse does that you should do this." It may be a great technique. But this is what i call "Gossip Training" it might not be the ideal thing to do for everyone or every horse or at that moment. And if the person using the technique has little understanding of it, then it may prove to be inappropriate or counterproductive. What the horse is saying to you should be clearly understood so you can make a better choice. But don't concern yourself with doing the wrong thing. Its never wrong if you get your point across. I always say, "Confidently show clear intention respefully and you'll get great results."
So the bottom line here explains it all. Techniques are great ways to communicate but we need to go way beyond the technique and build a heightened awareness of everything that is going on. Work to you and your horses strengths and just do the best you can. Nobody can fault you for that.
Thanks for reading along.