12 May 2011

So Fix the Spots!

I don't pick fights with horses, but when one occurs, I am there to see them through to the end.

When I discover a spot that needs fixing, I don't ignore them. It's best to get them resolved sooner rather than later. And the kindest way to resolve them is with as little effort as possible and with as much as is necessary.

Next, I treat that spot like it's a job. So I go at it with a determination that does not have mean, mad, angry, frustrated, annoyed, anxiousness or fear about it. It's just a job. But the moment the horse sees his way through to my way of thinking, I stop that job and rub the horse.

I go out everyday with the sole purpose of finding spots. Today, it was the trot to canter transition. Compa wanted to take the canter and run sideways over to the other horses in the pasture. I wanted Compa to trot quietly into the canter, on the correct lead and go where I wanted. His feet need to be my feet. I have a specific idea in mind and it works best for him to do that idea. When he does it correctly, we park in the shade and rest awhile. When he does it his way, we stay out in the sun and sweat. When he comes around to my way of thinking and his feet become my feet, well that shade and that rest are pretty sweet!

How many times has Compa done a trot to canter depart? Oh, I'd say about a hundred in both directions. Why wouldn't he just take the transition today and quietly canter like he has before? Well, because. He wants to see what will happen if he tests. If I get mean, mad, angry, frustrated, annoyed, anxious or fearful about that test, he will test more frequently. If I stay calm, treat the situation like it's a desk job, he won't have anything to fight against. Basically, he's fighting himself. The moment, the very moment in time that he gives to my idea, he is rewarded with shade and rest. Pretty soon, the idea of that spot fades into distant memory and we are back on track with his feet being my feet.

When the spot is a misunderstanding, there's a whole different feel to it. Say I asked for a trot to canter transition and Compa just trotted faster and faster. That's him not understanding. He's trying to figure out what to do with his feet. He's on the right track, but hasn't quite figured out that the "faster" I want involves breaking into another gait. When the spot is a misunderstanding, there's a lot of quiet explaining and encouraging. When the spot is downright disrespectful - "Screw this, I'm going over there and you can't stop me..." kind of attitude, then that horse has put up his gloves and is inviting a fight.

Today, I only found that one spot.

Today, there was no sweat.

Today, we finished the ride after round one...

Fix those spots!

1 comment:

  1. Yay! I'll be working on that tomorrow, Dee! xo