Have you ever tried to manipulate a situation by saying something that hopefully will make the other person feel guilty and then you get what you want? Right? It’s one of the first things we learn besides crying that will get our parents or friends to change their minds and do it our way.
Yeah, well it doesn’t work with horses and that is one of the beautiful things about working with them and why we can learn so much.
I have been communicating to the horses here that I would like to be able to lead them without a halter. No, it’s not training to me anymore. Now I’m communicating. So, I reach under the jaw bone and apply a bit of pressure with my hand to move forward. Sometimes they pull away so I try again but this time with lighter pressure. I apply only enough until I feel them start to pull away and then I stop and just hold it there. I take a deep breath and have a picture in my mind of what I want. In my mind’s eye, I see me walking around the pen with this horse walking calmly next to me, willingly, and pretty soon I feel him give to the pressure and we are off!
If they get stuck and stop, I relax and push gently to the right or left to get a foot to move and then we are off again.
There was no begging or pleading that could have gotten this horse to cooperate. I had to be gentle, ask with respect and not demand action.
Another lesson learned…