I constantly push my horses outside their comfort zone to see if there is something I need to work towards. The comfort zone I speak of here, is their mental understanding of something. It is the place just beyond their current training, where they haven't gone yet.
I don't push hard. I don't push fast. I do take them to the outer edge, just outside their limit and then help them learn about that new place. I don't barge in there. Rather, I take it slow, breaking it down into small steps that they understand.
I repeat this process everyday. Finding a place where they are mentally uncomfortable, or a place in their training where they've never been before. And I work it out with them. I put them there on purpose and I am always right there with them in that mentally challenging place. I am helping, teaching, supporting, rewarding to get them to find comfort in that place.
When I do this for my horses, they return the favor 100 fold. Why? Because they've learned to trust me. They've learned that I don't do the same old familiar thing, over and over, everyday, day in and day out.
Then, when I take them somewhere new or I get asked to help with a difficult task, they step out of the trailer, look at me, look at their new surroundings and then stand there comfortably, awaiting instructions. They've already been pushed. They've already been challenged. This new place, the new task, is nothing compared to what they've been through at home...