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"The Big Ask Versus The Little Ask"

The other day, I was working with a student who was having some trailer loading issues with his horse's, I asked him why he had horse's and what he loved to do with them. His answer was, to haul them to the mountains and ride in the "big out there" to the top of the mountains. I said to him "Wow, that is a really Big Ask of your horse's, to do all of that and keep you safe while doing it". I then said, how did your last trip out there go? He replied with "not good!".

I then said to him "Hey, let's try a Small Ask of your horse and see how well the two of you are communicating with each other. If you took ahold of the lead shank and Asked your horse to just drop his head would he understand what you are asking him to do?" The horse's reaction to this question told us both all we needed to know and what the majority of this lesson would be about. "Communicating with Horse's".

You see working with horses is very different then working with a machine. With machines you push this button or pull that lever or turn that key and what you want to happen just happens, unless there is a faulty part. If that is the case you simply replace the part and the issue is resolved. With horses things are not so simple, as they are a thinking, feeling, learning beings, and so much of what they do for you depends on

A) How they feel and understand you

B) How much you know about them

C) How you Ask them to do things

"Is your input matching your expectations" Laura Laing

After a brief conversation about how to communicate with horses, and a few "Small Ask" excercises we headed outside to the horse trailer to explore how this horse would do with a "Bigger Ask" and wouldn't you know it within minutes that horse walked on and off the trailer repeatedly, calmly, quietly and with a complete sense of understanding. I then said to the student "How does that feel?" he just smiled.

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