For example: I gave the students on my Fast Track course a live lesson in our monthly seminar the other week, about how to get an amazing feel with the lead rope and reins that was particularly good for ex racehorses who have been taught to lean on and then run with the bit. The technique was so successful that Georgia was using it every ride. She had a couple of fantastic rides where they expanded their understanding together just beautifully. Then her horse started getting upset.
Using that short reins technique on autopilot – even such a brilliant technique – had got in the way of her connection / communication / listening / Feeling with her horse.
Georgia didn’t get upset at her horse being upset, she changed her technique and worked on getting self carriage in long reins, but I can tell you that in the bad old days, before I “heard” and felt my horse as clearly as I do now, I would probably have got angry with a horse if they had misbehaved – and angry causes resistance and hard hands and body tension and THAT would have disconnected us even further and maybe even escalated the upset.
Technique on auto pilot is the enemy of the connection. Technique on auto pilot is the enemy of the two way communication that is the hallmark of brilliant horse people and brilliant riders.
If you go out to work with your horse and you do the same thing in the same way as last time, then you have probably lost your connection with them. And your connection is your clear, two way communication channel that is the pathway for you both to be really good at whatever it is that you are doing together. Luckily in Georgia’s case, she was aware enough to recognize the cause of her horse’s upset and change the technique.
If she HADN’T recognized the cause of the upset and got her connection and communication flowing again, it would have taken their training backwards. And going backwards in your training together can produce anything from braces and resistances, to a sad or grumpy horse or even produce a dangerous horse if he or she is p’ed off enough at not being listened to.
The kind of consistency that I want is not consistency of technique – it’s consistency of communication, consistency of me being Present enough to hear/feel my horse so I know exactly what technique to use on this moment with this horse. EVERYONE can be this good with a horse – it not just the people who were born with that depth of Feel that can have this easy knowing of what to do and when to do it. This is a completely teachable / learnable thing and THAT folks is what we’re really good at here. 🙂
So how do you know which technique to use with your horse at any given moment?
THAT folks is a big subject for another day, so stick around. I’m off to spend some time getting ready to plant veggies in my spring vegetable garden. 🙂
This lovely photo of Kristina and Rocky at the recent clinic in Perth was taken by Michelle Brannan of Finding Grace Photography in Perth Western Australia