The slightest try
What does a slightest try, from the horse, look and feel like ?
Before anything happens physically, the horse’s mind needs to be connected to our questions. He needs to start thinking about what he has to do, get ready.
For me that is the slightest try, he is trying to thinking. After that you will see and feel the horse start moving away or towards, depending on what you are looking for, but the feet are not moving yet. The horse is shaping his body. After shaping the horse’s weight will start shifting and then the feet will follow.
This helps to understand the horse’s process from when you ask a question until the movement is complete.
These 4 steps can be done very quickly, especially flexion and weight are very close together.
Have a try next time you are asking your horse something. Look for these for steps and see whether you can isolate them.
Without the thought nothing else will follow.
This is a very important part when refining things. You want to reward the horse when he is thinking or preparing himself about doing something better, lighter, faster etc.
This can also help with horses that are not very confident or sure about something and it is challenging for them to try something, because they are stepping out of there comfort zone.
So the more we can reward their thought, the more they will gain confidence in themselves for trying as well as reassuring them that they are on the right path, without having to go too far.
The sooner you can show your horse that he is on the right path of thinking, the quicker he will get the idea and he will start trying harder to seek that relief.
At the same time, it may take much more effort on your behalf to get the feet to move. But very little is required to get the horse to think and get his mind.
So next time see how little is required to get your horse’s mind.
The horse is so sensitive, so can you be that fly that lands on his coat. Can you be that light with your touch.
Often we are asking our horses to try, but the feel that we offer is already more than that is necessary for the horse’s mind to start.
So where will that lead to? The horse will start to be less sensitive because his first slightest try is missed. Because of what we offer is getting the horse to have to respond with more and quicker.
You might also see horses that starts swishing the tail or the ears come back. There may also be other reasons but often it has to do with how we are asking.
Becoming more aware of how little is needed to get the horse thinking and how rewarding that can have such a big impact on your horse.
The horse will tell you if you are to heavy, firm or quick. So listen to what he is saying, use it as feedback and try again.