Several trainers that I follow, specifically I am thinking of Carolyn Resnick and Klaus Hempfling, encourage working on the bond BEFORE you start working on the riding. Technically, I am not sure Klaus would call it a ‘bond”, perhaps the “relationship”?, but you get the idea or you will if you keep reading. 🙂
Anyway, for the person who has an open-ended schedule, training their own horse, this may work. Unfortunately, for the majority of horse owners it won’t – why? because they have little time to spend with their horse, are more goal driven, have an agenda for training, or if you are a working horse professional, simply cannot spend this amount of time on a horse that someone wants 90 days of training etc.. put on.
However, what I started to write about was what would happen if you did take this kinda (on the surface) backwards training approach? What would happen if you did not train the horse to lunge, to saddle, to walk and trot by leg, seat or voice but instead worked on the relationship and how your horse felt about you in his life?
What would happen….?
Here are my own thoughts at this time….
With the pony Pandora who I will not (obviously) be riding but who I am spending a lot of time with especially using Carolyn Resnicks’ Waterhole Rituals, I’ve noticed she is more willing and interested in being with me.
She comes trotting up to me – leaving food and companions behind. Her ears are more forward during our work together and she seems less emotionally resistant. She has always been willing to please but almost too much so, so nowadays she seems less hyper in actions and is more calm when we do things together.
With ZZ, who I am doing more of Klaus Hempfling style of leading work, I’ve noticed steady improvement in how the leading continues to translate to the way she treats me when off the lead. Not perfect by any means, but more willing to accept my role of leader.
Since ZZ is a green horse, what I’m very interested to see is how quickly she seems to be learning things. Although I do traditional training mixed with other methods, and I am sure her temperment plays a part, she is responding well to new tasks and learns them relatively easily.
There seems to be less friction in the learning process (even though she is a dominant horse) and perhaps that is because I am trying to let her dictate some of our activities together?
I am still not sure how this will all work out – it’s a journey and we are doing it slowly. If you have approached this manner of training and are CURRENTLY RIDING YOUR HORSE… please post a comment and let me know your thoughts.