Yesterday when I went to work with Rose I had formed 4 different topics I wanted to cover on the blog this week. I intended to list them all for you today, and then cover one each day. BUT....I got lost in the moment working with her, and when I got done I couldn't remember but one of them. So tomorrow you can expect I will be talking about baby steps, and cues. Today I'm talking about the "moment". As of two sentences ago, my topic just changed.
"In the moment..." what is it really? It means that our horses give us the chance to block out the entire rest of the world and escape to place where nothing exists, but love, respect, and understanding. At this moment many of you are saying..."yeah, but scout does this, or apache is too silly, or Big John threw me yesterday". If you take anything away from today let it be this. Disobedience is NOT a lack of love, or resepect it is a lack of understanding. I do not mean just on your horse's part either. If your horse is showing disobedience it means that they are not understanding what is being asked of them. More importantly it means YOU do not understand how they are viewing the situation. The biggest focus of training is just this...how do you minimize misunderstandings. First develop a relationship of trust, and second take the time to instill the correct expectations in your horse.
I never ask anything of my horse from the saddle that I do not already have a mastery of from the ground. Let's use the first ride as an example before I get on their back I want to be sure I have each of the following baby steps mastered from the ground. Acceptance of me in their space, forward motion, stopping forward motion, directing forward motion, submiting their head to pressure, allowing me to be above their head (I usually use a mounting block to stand on, or our hay trailer), standing still for startling sounds, and the routine sounds of the saddle. This may seem like a lot (excluding mustangs) but in a domestic horse I can usually accomplish this in just a session or two. Everything I do from the ground I do with the intent of asking from the saddle. For me this means I use artificial aids that will transfer well to the saddle. If you use a training stick with flag attached do you also ride with one? If not then you are setting yourself up to teach this skill all over again from the saddle. Personally when I'm working a horse at liberty or on a lunge line I prefer to use a rope or end of a line to increase energy if I have to go to an artificial aid. We've talked in past articles about having 5 word questions. My artificial aid is always the last word in the sentence. It's the first one I want the ability to delete. You may ask how a rope will transfer to the saddle. It's fairly simple really the end of my romal, split reins, or macate work in exactly the same way. If I'm riding with looped reins I typically have the end of a set of romals hanging off of my belt loop or saddle horn to use if I need it.
And wow...the title of this post is too appropriate. I started this this morning, then had to go out for a day of trailer loading training with 2 very nice horses. One arrived here to day for market boot camp. We're going back to get the other tomorrow. He's coming to stay. The problem with this...I lost my train of thought. I guess that may elicit some comments/questions. If not I'll finish this later in the week.