So you’re riding along and your horse spooks. What do you do? Do you pull back, panic, worry, get upset, get mad, get frustrated? Do you take a deep breath and go back about your work? Your response to spooking makes all the difference to your horse.
When I ride, I give the horse a place to be, and teach them to find center- first, rhythm, then straightness. When my horse is with me and in the center of my “circle of aids,” things are quiet, calm, and relaxed. If they spook, I take a deep breath and focus again on rhythm and straightness. I try to bring them back to me, rather than reinforcing their worry with mine.
When you give attention to all the gremlins and goblins out there, we add tension to the equation, and the horse worries more. I try to acknowledge what my horse is afraid of and not make them just “get over it,” but I show them how to find physical and mental balance again after they’ve become afraid.
If you give attention to rhythm, balance, and relaxation, even in times of bother, that is what they learn, and that skill set grows.