Creating the Adaptable HORSE
Many people ride with a goal-oriented perspective. They fixate on the show, trail ride, working cattle, competitive trail, etc.
Horses can learn to tolerate familiar scenarios within a jumping arena, Dressage arena, working cattle, or while on a trail. It isn't until something new or different is asked of the horse, until most people realize there is a lack of adaptability within their horse.
I like to help horses become adaptable. A roping horse should be able to clamber over or even jump a small obstacle or fence when presented to him. A jumping horse should not have a meltdown and become impossible to "deal with" if he is passing an arena full of cows. He may want to stop, look, smell, and consider the cows for a moment or two, but should be able to continue the ride without tension or stress from his encounter with the cows.
IT'S THE THOUGHT THAT COUNTS
My priority is to create horses whose minds are available to hear my input in any situation. Learning to assess the horse's current temperament and how to influence his mind builds quality equine partnerships.
HELPING YOUR HORSE
Often when we ride there are literal obstacles along the way whether it be a mailbox, a slamming trailer door, a flag or umbrella near an arena, or another potential "crisis" opportunity as seen by the horse.
Frequently riders do whatever is necessary to get past and "survive" the crisis. They continue with no thought as to whether after passing the "stressful spot" the horse has been helped, influenced, or affected to be more confident when addressing a similar situation in the future.
Mindless, repetitive experience and exposure have been the common method of "training" a horse. Instead, I want to create the "tools" in how I communicate with the horse so that my guidance offers him support to thinks his way through scenarios. This builds trust and leads to the solid foundation every equine partnership should be built upon.