The horse world is full of “methods” – DVD’s, books, videos selling how to’s, and these can be very helpful. However, it’s important to realize that every horse and situation are different.
When people ask “how do I get my horse to ____” it’s hard for me to have a specific answer. The reason is that what I might do is different than what you should do, depending on your situation at home, skill set, and time available. And I really don’t have a set idea of what I’m planning to do when I go in to work with a horse. Other than guiding principles, I tend to experiment, trying to stay in the moment and watch how the horse responds and what they need.
It’s been said you can’t teach feel, that you have to experience it. This is somewhat true – I can’t give anyone a method that I guarantee will work, but people can be taught to be more observant, more present, more thoughtful, and more balanced. This is the essence of feel.
So when you go to work with your horse, think of the big picture you’re looking for: are you looking for a peaceful relationship? Then chasing your horse and making being with you the lesser of two evils does not promote that. Try experimenting, see how you can catch your horse’s attention, and be something they seek out – not because they have to, but because they want to.
Horsemanship to me is like art. Learn some basic techniques and principles, and then don’t be afraid to get messy. Some of the best art breaks all the rules.