I worked with a lady called Kat and her four year old horse today. Kat is pretty experienced and has done a good job of basic starting of the horse. It was hammering with rain so I suggested we work in the stable (I don’t do wet weather these days). She wanted me to look at what she was doing and suggest how she might move forwards with the horse’s training etc and work towards creating a great riding horse and partner…

The horse was in a halter and rope. Kat did all the usual stuff and the horse had learned it all pretty well: backwards, yielding haunches, leading, moving forehand sideways etc… the thing was, to my eye all of it needed refining. These seem like basic things to be doing with a horse at this stage but its not so much the doing of them so much as the how was it being done… for example the backwards was not a clean two-time rhythm, the haunches yielded too quickly and too many steps and the forehand pushed forward too much… over-all the net result was that the horse wasn’t really focussed on Kat and kept looking out of the stable windows. The horse also had developed mini habits which I would have wanted to avoid, flicking her nose in the air against requests from the rope etc…

I explained all that lot to Kat and pointed it all out. She said she’d not thought of being ‘that picky’ with the work. To my mind those things aren’t picky, they are the work… the devil is in the detail!!

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