Training your own horse can, at times, seem like an overwhelming task. The big question is, of course, where do I start?
I think the answer is simple: Start with RELAXATION.
Think about your horse in the arena like a child in a classroom (I know, all the scientists are jumping up and down screaming anthropomorphism, but shhh, if we talk quietly they won't hear us). When the child is nervous, let's say the teacher is in a foul mood and handing out detentions, the child is not absorbing information - this is simply not a good learning environment.
The child will certainly take something away from that lesson though. It may be 'I hate maths' or 'Mrs Smith is nasty' but something will be learned and it is unlikely to be positive. However, it will not be quickly forgotten.
On the other hand, if the teacher quietly explains the maths problem, in a step-by-step manner to a relaxed and engaged child, the child will gain confidence, absorb the lesson and try even harder next time because he/she will be building on that success.
Your horse is the same.
Step 1 - get your horse to relax. From here you can break the lesson down and your horse will be successful (be rewarded with release and praise) at each little step. This builds confidence and an eagerness to engage and learn.
So how do we get our horse to relax and engage with learning? I'll talk about that tomorrow. I wonder if we do it the same way? Think about how you prepare your horse for learning and we'll see if they are similar in tomorrow's email.
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