Moving the hind end like Holly is doing in this video (thanks Holly!) can be used as a way of EXPLAINING to the horse that you would like him to walk beside you, rather than in front. When I’m using it for an explanation, I’m usually saying, “no thank you” when they get too far ahead of me and as I turn them around, I’m asking “can you stay here beside me please?”
You can also think of yielding the hind like this, as a re-connection technique – a way to PHYSICALLY re-connect when you’ve lost the artistry of connection. If this was my purpose for using the hind end yield – that we’d lost our mutual connection – I might smooch first to bring them back and only if that failed, I might do a hindquarter yield to bring them back to me through the physical connection.
AND of course, because technique can be the enemy of connection, I wouldn’t blindly do this technique without being open to allowing the right course of action to flow. It may be (like Frederic Pignon in that lovely video with the three black stallions) that my horse might be at the end of his or her ability to concentrate and maybe I should turn them loose as soon as possible to relax for a bit. Sometimes it’s the end of working today – just as often it doesn’t need to be for very long.
Or if I couldn’t let them off lead for some reason, maybe I could find some other way of having mental down time – I might even allow them to graze in that situation – whatever it takes to take the pressure off.
Now… I want you to think about how big a deal this is to your ridden work – your ability to reliably re-connect – mentally, emotionally, energetically and physically – with your horse is a big deal to your ridden safety. You are going to have things happen when you’re riding and you WILL lose your connection together – but how fast can you get it back – RELIABLY?
I don’t know about you, but I want the ability to re-connect understood by both of us and reliable in its execution – BEFORE I put a leg over my horse.
What about you?
Please note: If you notice a little stiffness, Holly has a shoulder injury in this video. Bless her for making it for me anyway!
Your Keys to Success
- Smooth hands sliding down the rope, so that it’s a re-connection INVITATION. Connection is a joyful meeting of two spirits, so you can’t push it or in any other way force it.
- It may be best to explain this technique from a stand still first. Or not. 🙂
- If your horse has had this technique as a punishment (some natural horsemanship uses it in that way), then you may get a Not Quite Right stop, in which case physically back off and Hold Space for them while you wait for The Chew. A lot of horses are tight in the hind end muscles from having this technique used in a bullying, pushed on, “make ’em do it” kind of way. (There’s no criticism there, that was what I was taught originally too.) In which case, you will probably notice some physical as well as emotional healing happening after the Release.
- When you’re at the Re-Learn stage, you may need to slow down even more – but if you follow the good feelings and use your Not Quite Right for change, you’ll pick up on that need. 🙂
- If you feel even a slight physical resistance at some part of the exercise, you can MELT OFF the resistance in a similar way to in this lesson about preparation for tying a horse up – meet and melt.
- And remember, at every feel good moment, at every step to success, allow yourself to feel those feel good feelings – soak them up and appreciate them as you make that feel good muscle memory you and your horse’s new normal.