Calm and Forward

Movement should never be a punishment. Movement IS the reward- movement in balance, never away from the person but WITH them.

Quite often I encounter horses who escape the drive aid, are anxious about forward movement, or escalate when going up into the trot and canter.

If we want the horse to be both forward AND calm, we have to think logically about how we present the drive aid and movement. If the horse isn’t getting in the trailer and we run them around in circles outside the trailer, frantically out of balance, until they get in – how will they magically transfer this to balanced movement on the lunge line? If we spin them around in circles at the gate to make stopping here the “wrong” thing, how does the horse know when going back to work that movement is no longer adverse?

How is the horse supposed to parse out when we don’t care if they’re balanced and when we do? How are they supposed to know movement is a punishment one moment, but not another? How are they supposed to become calm and centered if we use the very thing we want them to do, which is move, as a way to put them off balance enough to “behave”?

A calm and balanced horse requires a calm and thoughtful handler- I try to take things one step further. After this horse in on the trailer, how will these principles apply later? After this horse is away from the gate, then what? Good training is layered in thoughtfully, one moment at a time.

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