Offering and Trying
Ever since writing my last blog about making assumptions, I have been thinking about how assumptions feel compared to your horse offering or trying something.
How do you know if your horse is trying? Well if you ask and nothing happens, there is no try. It’s either because your horse is disconnected or not responsive. A try is a response, it might just be a shift in the weight, one step etc. But a try is necessary, as without it you will not get anything done.
It’s important to see whether the horse is responsive or reactive, as it will indicate where the horse is mentally and emotionally.
Usually assumptions occur after doing something a couple of times. The horse would know the pattern or routine. It is important, when teaching the horse something new, to use a pattern or do to it repetitively. This will allow the horse to know what is coming next, so he can set himself up and be prepared. Some take more time than others.
What might happen is that the horse will e.g. do an upward transition before you asked. This may be because you always do it at A. So the horse knows what is coming.
One way to prevent assumptions is by changing the routine a little. This depends on the horse’s nature. It feels a little like the horse has taken over, instead of it being 50/50.
Once a horse knows what you are expecting e.g. upward transitions, he will be able to offer more.
When the horse is offering something, it usually happens just after you asked for e.g. the upward transition. The ask can be as light as possible and the horse might offer.
Or you can set it up and wait…. The horse might offer something, it might be something towards what you were asking for or it might just be an offer.
It also happens when we are in neural and the horse is e.g. maintaining gait. He might offer a better shape, speed, connection etc.
This is such a “magical” time, when the horse is willing to offer something and thinking about what he is doing. It shows you how connected the horse is and how much of a partner he is.
Every horse is different and as you build a relationship and partnership you will learn more about your horse- how he thinks, feels etc. Every horse will have a different amount of try and this can improve or decline.
So when you ask you want your horse to try something, think towards you and what you are asking him to do. Try to be as light as possible but as firm as necessary. Release as soon as your horse is trying.
The offering comes from stay as light as possible, so it’s essential that your horse knows what you are expecting him to do. If you have to increase the request it will not be an offer anymore but a trying.
So the difference between trying & offering and assumptions, is that both trying and offering occur when or just after asking your horse. Whereas an assumptions occurs before asking.
But sometimes the horse might make an assumption after you asked because he assumes that you will e.g. stop at A instead of going upwards.
So it’s important to keep an eye on the horses mental and emotional connection and whether he is thinking and trying or not.
But also make sure you are applying the feel and energy appropriately, that you body language isn’t telling your horse something different.
The horses response whether it is an assumption, try or offer all comes from how we ask, release, reward and re-apply.
So use the horse’s response as feedback for yourself and correct yourself before correcting your horse.