As we discussed in the previous post, not all horses absorb information in the same way or at the same speed and it's our job, as trainers (and, yes, you're a trainer if you are interacting with your horse) to make sure that the horse's learning experiences are, not only not stressful but also relaxing, engaging and fun.
It's great to have a system but we need to make sure we adjust that system to suit each horse. To do this we have to be sure of exactly what we are teaching and why we are teaching each particular lesson - what's the benefit or end result of this particular exercise? We also need to know the behaviours that indicate the horse has learned the lesson and it's time to move on.
These are good questions to ask yourself at the start of any lesson. Let's take 'standing at the mounting block' as an example.
1) What we are teaching - the horse to stand quietly and relaxed while we mount and not to move off until signalled.
2) The end result - a safe mounting experience for horse and rider.
3) Targeted behaviours - not moving feet or increasing head elevation while mounting.
If you ask these questions before beginning any lesson with your horse you will avoid attempting to teach anything you don't completely understand yourself. I always think that if it isn't completely clear in MY mind, then I'm unlikely to be able to make it clear to the horse. Things like 'getting respect' fall into this category and we'd be unable to define such a concept in the same way as we did with standing by the mounting block.
Think of a simple lesson that you teach and answer the three questions about it - leave me a comment below with your answers.
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