Monday, January 3, 2011

Leading Part 2

This video is part 2, in the discussion about leading. We hope you enjoy it!

Below is a related question that Caroline received, and her answer:

You guys haven't met the newest addition, Dusty. She is the polar opposite of Kala. She's bold, dominate, in-your-face, food oriented and stubborn! These type of horses have always been a real challenge for me. This question is related to the last blog of Leading Part I. When I use rhythmic driving (twirling the end of the rope for her to step back), she takes it as me challenging her. She'll begin to hold her head high, kick out and stand her ground instead of stepping back or not coming into my space as I originally intended. It becomes ego vs. ego at that point. What can I do so her and I are working together instead of against each other?

Hope all is well!

Hi Amber,

Happy New Year!

Great question!

This is typical behavior for more dominant horses. Asking them to respect your space puts you in the "driver's" seat or position of power. Naturally, they will challenge that. I'd like to start off with my round penning (rp) approach first for acceptance and trust before I get into specific techniques that will help. The round penning allows you to establish both partnership and leadership. This is most important to our way of training as we want the horse to want to be with us, choosing to partner while accepting our leadership. In the end, the answer is "intention." You will learn the power of it through our rp approach. The power comes with careful observation, identifying and reading our horses so that we can "match" intention. Matching intention follows the mind, heart and body of a horse. Example, some horses may be moving quickly but their mind is soft and relaxed. Some may not move, with their feet planted, not scared of anything yet difficult to motivate.

This is most challenging as everyone's perspective is unique to themselves. I don't feel comfortable asking you to come on stronger as I don't know the dynamic between you. She may feel misunderstood, confused and if so, that is how she is going to respond and let you know. You would be surprised how much a horse can "change" when understood. Stronger personalities just can't take too much either. They are very assertive. That is why I don't like to label horses, dominant, passive.

As I mention briefly in Leading, Part I, you can get stronger with your rhythmic energy and move into your horse if necessary. Don't get stuck trying to achieve the desired goal of backing your horse up right now. I would practice moving the shoulder. Accept the slightest try and reward. I would love to show how we would match our horse's intent but we don't have any horses here that will challenge us that way.

Thanks and I hope to see you again in the New Year!


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