Have you ever said, “Well, moving forward, let’s __________ .”
You let go of anything that holds you back. You look to what you want to create next. You focus on progress, a move in a positive direction. Roadblocks are released and all is right in your world once again.
Don’t you love that feeling?
The same is true for your horse whether you are on the ground or on his back. For all he does, he needs to move forward. Forward motion means energy. Without energy, you have nothing to build on.
The forward motion process has two steps. The first is to think energetically for the sake of creating motion to work with. The second is to ask your horse to move his feet.
When you are having a challenge with your horse consider how to create forward motion as the next step.
Here’s an example. Let’s say your horse doesn’t want to back up. It would be easy to think about pulling on his mouth just a little more. But consider this … actually his feet aren’t moving. There’s no energy … in fact things feel “stuck”. So instead of focusing on the reins, think of “moving forward” by creating energy and getting his feet moving. In this case, you could do one of two things. You could walk him in a circle to follow his nose and loosen his feet, and then ask him again to back up … or … you could use the side of your foot to tap his shoulder as you apply rein pressure. The energy of tapping on his shoulder creates movement (energy) in his feet.
Of course, as soon as he moves his feet backward in either scenario, release the stimuli of the reins or your feet to reinforce his behavior.
The rule of thumb is, if you have a challenge with your horse and feel stuck, ask him to move somewhere … anywhere … and it doesn’t have to be perfect. Create forward motion/energy. Then you can shape that energy into something more specific. Movement is a wonderful, simple next step for most training situations.
Just like moving forward in your life is always a way to let go of anything that holds you back, moving forward with your horse is the same. You look to what you want to create next. You create energy and focus on the next baby step of progress … the tiniest move in a positive direction.