I had an email from Jeannie who was asking about what she was missing with her beautifully mannered pony who sometimes flips out, suddenly spooking about something – seemingly out of the blue.
She was commenting on the Second Key to Happiness with Your Horse, the one that explains the Comfort Zone, the Not Too Sure Zone and the Oh shit I’m Dead Zone (there is my Aussie language again!) and talking about her little mare sometimes jumping into the Oh Shit Zone when it didn’t make sense to her (Jeannie). She wondered what she was missing in the training, when it was clear from Jeannie’s conversation that she and the little mare were generally working very nicely together.
I thought my answer would benefit others, so here it is…
I suspect that the answer will be about releasing old fears, maybe even trauma – waiting for The Chew – working your way through her whole routine/ life with you, looking for what things bring up the early warning signal for you that something is Not Quite Right and then waiting for her to process those old fears and release them. I secribed how to do that in the bonus lesson to The Six Keys to Happiness with Your Horse – the one about helping your horse to heal.
See, fear is cumulative. If our horse cannot act on their fear to make themselves safe – horses most often want to run away from something they are afraid of and very often we prevent them – then they bury the fear. And each buried fear intensifies the next one. So that you can have a horse doing a complete flip out about something that doesn’t make sense to us – something that we think is relatively small.
The secret to fixing that, is to go back through their routine and find those fears that they had to bury and give them the opportunity to release those. Each thing released will decrease the violence of your horse flipping out.
THEN you can re-do those activities, whatever they were, in such a way that your horse understands it and is not afraid of it.
THEN you get to the point where when your horse is startled or worried by something, they look to you and ask “hey is this OK?”
And from there you can develop a Caretaker Horse – that precious being who is capable of looking after you while you look after them – and THAT is a wonderful thing.
WE systematically do all of that in the on line program Fast Track to Brilliant Riding AND then we add some very powerful but gentle leadership work AND then we add the magnetic butt so that you have a butt that sticks in the saddle just about no matter what AND THEN you get to release all your fears and tensions that get in the way of being a good rider too. It’s a pretty cool program (Aussie understatement there!)