Working with a student the other day who's horse was struggling to find his balance and not crossfire in Canter on the lunge line, I asked the student if he noticed the horse struggling, not sure what to do about it he said "yes, should I just get after him?". I replied with "why don't we have a visit about why he might be struggling first".
You see sometimes when our horses are not doing the thing we would like them to do we perceive them as being obstinate or defiant. It has been my experience that if a horse isn't doing something you have asked them to do the reason is, they simply just don't understand what it is you are asking them to do. I feel that if a horse truly understood what you are asking them to do
they would never choose to do something that may cause you "to get after them". So what if we looked at our horses struggles not as a horse that "doesn't want" to do the thing we are asking them to do, but as a horse who "doesn't understand" what we are asking them to do.
"When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change". So in this case I explained to the student, that I felt it was the horses understanding of how to shape the bend in his body and how to bring his inside hind leg further underneath himself to help him "find" the more balanced lead we were looking for. We then began to help the horse learn this new way of thinking and moving, and within a minute this horse chose to canter a few strides on the correct lead.
I guess what I am trying to say is this, before "getting after your horses" first try to understand why your horse is doing what they are doing and what you can do to help them choose a different way of thinking. And, if you find yourself struggling to see what is causing the issue please seek some help or advice from someone you respect as not only a Horseman/woman, but also a teacher.
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