It’s so easy to get stuck in a rut with your riding or training. Some times I meet clients who just keep running into the same issue again and again. It’s so easy to blame the horse. Oh, well he’s so stiff, or she just likes to wind me up, or they are lazy, stubborn…. you can fit your own adjective here. Unfortunately, some coaches and equine professionals will perpetuate these myths. They suggest a stronger bit, or spurs. Perhaps you need to ‘show your dominance’ or purchase a special halter and rope. After all, the customer is always right…. aren’t they?
It may be easier to blame the horse, after all, if it’s their fault, then it’s their responsibility. But when did any horse ever say ‘hey human, I’ll make life easier for you, I’ll change’. That’s because horses always have reasons for doing what they do. So if your horse always falls in on circles, or is sticky about loading on the trailer before a show, then it’s time to start asking yourself why.
As discussed in my previous post (https://spencehorsesense.wordpress.com/2019/04/05/getting-to-the-root-of-the-problem/ ) there may be a physical reason for the issue. In these cases, identifying and treating the physical issue often solves the problem. However, it may in fact be something as simple as the way the rider sits or applies the aids. Habits are hard to break, especially when you have an established partnership. Some times it can be really helpful to take the rider and put them with a different horse. Or even two. When they still have the same issues with different horses, it’s easier to accept that they might be responsible, rather than the horse. Then it’s all about finding the right horse to help teach new habits. This can be rather a humbling process, but also a very empowering one. After all, if it’s you that is causing the problem, than that means you can do something about it!
You can change, and then, you can be the change for your horse. In helping yourself, you help everyone else that you deal with. This doesn’t just apply to riding, this applies to groundwork, to all aspects of horse handling. In fact, often people find that it also applies to the relationships they have with work colleagues, or family members.
So approach your horse with an open mind. Listen to what they are telling you. Let them help you to ‘live your best life’ 😉.