One complaint I hear frequently from riders is “he’s not paying attention to me!”
This is often coming from someone who’s mind is wandering, overthinking, worrying, daydreaming, and the like. If we are not here, and more importantly, if we don’t have a nice feel for the horse to find when their attention is with us, why should they do it?
I often ask riders when they say their horse should pay attention to them – why? Not only does he not “have to,” because he’s bigger and stronger than you are, but paying attention to you over his herd makes him more vulnerable, more at risk, and less safe.
The horse’s main job is to eat and be with a herd for security. When we deprive him of those two things he obviously is going to have some worries and needs to be met. Can you provide security? Can you provide relaxation? Can you provide balance? Can you be in the moment with him?
If not, why should he give you his attention? His security lies somewhere else, and without security, he can’t even begin to care about riding circles.