Focus and Respect
How many times have we heard ”my horse spooks on the trail” or, ”my horse wants to run over me”?
One of the very first things I do when I begin working with a problem horse, or any horse for that matter, is establish focus and respect! Like a student in school, you can make the student sit in class, but if the student is daydreaming or worried about the party later on, not much learning is going to happen. If the student is paying attention, “focused”, but there is no respect for the instructor, again, not much learning will happen and probably some misbehaving is soon to happen.
If your horse does not respect you as the leader and focus on you for leadership, the horse will simply take matters in their own hands…. and usually in a way the rider is not too happy about! Horses will constantly challenge you in some way in order to determine if you are still fit to be the leader. You must always meet that challenge.
To gain respect, you’ll need to demonstrate to your horse that you are a confident, fair but firm leader. Do this by understanding when to be firm (pressure) and when to be fair (reward for doing the correct thing). To get your horses’ focus, demonstrate to the horse you can move his feet in a controlled manner in varying directions if possible. Do this especially at times when the horse gets nervous or reacting to some outside event.
You might be surprised how behaved a horse can be if he is focused on the rider and respects the rider as his leader!