“He doesn’t do this at home.”
This is a phrase I hear often at clinics and lessons when folks haul off the property.
The truth is that what you have off the property is just an amplified version of what you have at home. When things are quiet and the horse is in his comfort zone, you may not notice because his behavior is what you’re used to – the signs are more subtle, but they are there.
Put under stress, the horse shows the truth of his foundational work. Yes he may be scared, but a well trained horse doesn’t jump all over top of you. Yes he may be confused, but a well trained horse doesn’t run through your aids. Yes he may not be sure what’s expected of him, but a well trained horse looks to you for answers and comfort.
It’s tempting to go back to the safety of his comfort zone and blame it all on the new venue, or how the cows got out, or the loud music another boarder blasted, or the feed truck showing up during your ride, and so on and so forth. But these are the moments that show you what you’re working with.
It’s ok to not be perfect, and it’s ok for the horse to have a hard time, but take note of what their habits are when they are not ok. There is the truth of your foundation.