We all have them from time to time. Like, hard to catch, disrespectful, leaning on pressure, won't stand still, panicking, won't go, won't stop, won't turn, and the list goes on and on.
Sometimes it's a new thing that we have not seen in this particular horse before. It appears to have just showed up out of nowhere. Other times, we no the problem exists and they have been doing this for a while. The horse may have even came with the problem.
So now for some harsh reality. Without picking on anyone or making anyone feel degraded. I put myself in this next sentence as well. Every horse problem is a problem in ourselves, not in the horse. Even if the horses issues have been on going before you ever got to them.
I'll explain. First thing is, a horse really only wants to be left alone. They are happy to just eat and engage in some play with other horses. We are the ones that WANT, WANT, WANT from them. This is where our problems all start. If a horse acts up with you in any way, try to remember this. Find a way to get them mentally engaged to where "THEY" want to be a part of what "YOU" are doing, AND allow "THEM" do it.
This is one of the most difficult things for us to do. But when you can keep this fresh in your mind and understand how to put it to use, you can do a whole lot more, doing a whole lot less.
It starts right here. This should be step one, but unfortunately, most of us don't take that step. Or we forget to on occasion. Once you understand how this all works, you'll be happy you learned it. No matter how advanced you are in your discipline, if you didn't make this step one, I encourage you to go back and make this step one in everything you work one. If it's not working in one exercise, don't move on to the next until it is. You may find you need to go back and get it working in another exercise then come back to this one.
The concept behind this is really about getting the horse interested and caring deeply about understanding your thoughts. Appreciating you to a point that they know your inner most wants needs and desires and they are driven by their own desire to help and be a part of it. You can never have a lighter, softer, more responsive horse than one that is so mentally engaged that they understand fully what to do, and are willing to do it without your help.
This is what makes liberty work so beautiful. And how riding becomes effortless. If you get this really well, you will be able to ride without the use of Rein or leg cues. It won't always be great. It will only be great when you and your horse are communicating thought with each other.
So to put this in a different light. The first step is to care about everything your horse is thinking and know that they want to know ALL (not just some) of our thoughts as well. Once we are communicating thoughts, we'll gain in appreciation. It all gets better from there. Because that's when the magic starts happening.