Small Things Make A Big Difference

Okay, let's see a show of hands. How many of us have had our troubles with a horse that won't stand still, runs into us while leading, or is otherwise just plain rude. Okay, you can all put your hands down. We've all dealt with it in some way, shape, or form. So, how do we deal with it? Well, let's look at it from a slightly different perspective.

Instead of a specific lesson, let's look at some everyday things that we can do that will help greatly. I like to call it "Situational Training." The thing we need to remember, is that the horse is always learning. Even though we may think that what we are doing at any given point in time with the horse isn't related to anything, everything is connected.

One example would be the scenario of allowing our horses to go from the stall to the pasture without any sort of handling.(Of course, only applying to those that have that setup between their barn and pasture.) Are they running out of stall? Would they stop or slow down if you were in front of them? While this may seem like a harmless thing to do, are we actually cheating ourselves out of a training opportunity? What are they learning in this situation?

Another potential situation would be that of allowing our horses to walk out as we're getting on them or once we are on them, but before we are ready for them to move, or even speed up while riding them when we didn't ask them to. Again, think about what they are learning here. When we are looking for complete control, we can't overlook some things and figure that the horse won't decide that it's okay to do that same sort of thing or something similar in other situations.

How about the horse that tends to rub it's head on us, or simply puts it's head over top of us or in front of us. All these things can add up to help us build that well behaved horse. Think about it this way, when our horses do this, imagine the quiet horse that we all want. The horse that when we're leading it and we stop to talk to a friend, isn't walking circles or constantly moving in some way. Remember, this isn't just a leading issue. Just as the example before deals with behavior from the saddle, both things are connected and one carries over into the other, and vice versa. Here is a good saying to remember, "We ride the horse we lead."

Obviously, I can't possibly list all the different situations that this might apply to. Basically, next time your spending time with your horse, and he is doing something that seems harmless, try to think of the "big" picture, and ask yourself if this is something that can affect the horses' overall performance. You'll be surprised at just how much difference the "little" things can make.

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