The more I learn, the more I rethink my ideas about correcting. Sometimes I believe it is needed, especially when a horse has learned some undesirable things. But as my timing gets better and my understanding gets better, I find myself correcting much less, and redirecting or educating to head off problems far more. I think back on many corrections in my past and wonder if I could have redirected those behaviors instead.
Before correcting a horse, I think – firstly, are my emotions involved? If yes, time to quit. That never ends well. Secondly, are they physically and emotionally set up for what I’m asking? Did I prepare them and are their bodies in a position to do what I ask? Many times we ask for the wrong thing at the wrong time and set horses up to fail. I try to think less about what I don’t want them to do, and more about what I DO want, and how to make that work.
If you find yourself making the same correction over and over, you may have a horse who doesn’t understand or is physically out of position to do what you ask, or , your timing is late consistently.