Friday, 1 May 2015

Hooking On / Joining Up – Part Three and Beyond

Every time you go to the paddock to be with your horse you need to be consistent in your attitude, expression and methods.  As you progress the process will become more and more subtle but you must never forget the steps you are going through.

Once your horse is caught you will probably proceed to groundwork and then to in saddle exercises.  Personally I prefer ground exercises that translate to the in saddle work.  Here again there are a great number of instructional DVD`s by experienced horsemen for ground work programs.  You should examine as many of these as you can, to find the one that is the best fit for you.

The objective of this phase of the process is to establish clear communications between the human and the horse.  The length of time that this takes is dependent on the experience level of the human and the horse.  For someone embarking on this path for the first time you should be prepared to spend several months before you get to a level of trust, confidence and understanding at which a firm bond begins to form between human and horse.  The path to a true partnership really never ends.  It must always be in your mind with a view to continuing to improve the strength of the bond. 

How do you know when there is a bond developing between you and your horse?  The signals will come from the horse.

  • ·       The horse will meet you at the gate.
  • ·       The horse approaches you with ears forward and head lowered.
  • ·       The horse will offer to do things for you, picking up a glove you dropped, putting his foot on a ball, bowing, holding the lead rope in his mouth, etc.
  • ·       When the horse sees you near the paddock he/she whinnies at you.
  • ·       When you approach your horse when he/she is lying down they stay and allow you to approach and stroke them.
  • ·       The horse will want you to carress and rub their head and ears.
  • ·       When you are with your horse he/she will be fully relaxed.

The horse begins to see you as a part of the herd, in particular a leader of the herd.  This is a position of trust which you must learn to accept and honor.  Maintaining this relationship with your horse never ends and the rewards just keep growing for both of you.

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