I have got the next installment so close I can taste it. My fingers are itchy and my mind is racing. I also have had more interruptions than I can cope with and I won't be able to post tonight. Arrrgh.
I will keep writing, I hope to keep hearing from you.
In the meantime....
I am thinking more and more about the sensitize/desensitize issue.
I am thinking about it so much because I'm giving a clinic to some serious beginners next week. I haven't done this for a long time. I want to clearly explain why and how we choose what we train our horses for.
I wish I had been working on this train of thought when I was training horses and clients. I could have made so much more of a difference.
This is where my biggest argument comes up with Natural Horsemanship. As it is trained by so many, I concede, not all.
You can't use the same routine for every horse. You have to take in consideration so many aspects of the horse. Is the horse nervy? Or cold? Have you had enough experience to know the difference between a hot horse and a spooky horse? A laid back horse compared to dull?
I recently watched a video of a colt being started. The rider was laying here, laying there, leaning and pulling the saddle this way and that while being led around the arena by another person.
This is a perfect example of what I consider Annoymanship.
The colt (a very patient, good boy BTW) was walking along with this completely confused look to him. He was lugging on the lead rope, walking very slowly with his head up and his tail clamped.
They walked and walked and walked.
To me, this is what was happening to the colt.
A lot was going on too. He was being ridden. He was getting hung on, rubbed on and the saddle yanked. He was being led and was hanging on the lead rope.
He was never getting a release from what was being done to him. He was never getting a reward. He was simply confused.
If I was riding this horse, he would have know to turn left when the halter rope guided him left and right when it guided left. He would been acclimated to the saddle. He would be used to me standing up in the stirrup.
The day I rode him I would get on. As soon as he was moving freely, now this could be W,T or C, depends on the horse and my nerves, but he would be moving freely,I would guide him left, guide him right, wait until he stopped, say whoa and get down. That's it.
So you can see where this bothers me. Because the colt in the video seemed duller than dirt. And mildly pissed. Which is not what I want in a horse. Dull and Pissed.
This colt was learning not to spook. He was learning to accept weird weight changes and shifts in the saddle. He was definitely wasn't worried about the rider and he sure wasn't afraid.
He had clearly been thoroughly prepared for the first ride.
This is a good thing.
So how do we keep the lightness and forward that I want and still create the acceptance I saw from the colt?
Do we keep a list?
And that folks, is how I'll open my clinic. Asking each rider what they want from their horse.
Whoop whoop. Thinking while writing is such a grand thing.
So what about all this?