Laura Domenica from Connected Horsemanship coaches student and her horse to negociate obstacleHorses have a reason for moving. They are purposeful.

A few thousand years of man’s domestication has not changed this.

They move because someone higher in the hierarchy says so

They move because they are seeking water or better grazing.

They move because they feel safe and want to play.

They also know when not to move.

For several million years the horse survived in the wild as a prey animal.

He learnt to conserve his energy for when it was most needed…when he had to flee for his life.

This gave him purpose.

We often hear ourselves say our horses are lazy or unmotivated.

The laziness we think we identify in our horses is often a result of them seeing no “purpose” in what we are asking them to do:

  • When we repeat exercises that they already know, just because we can.
  • When we make repetitions without attention to variety, accuracy or effort.
  • When we drill without reprise or reward.

When there is no meaning to our request, and no reason behind our actions, he simply sees no “purpose.”

When you are with your horse, try to remember that he likes to have a purpose:

  • When you ask him to move his feet let it be to a certain spot
  • When you ask him to back let it be through a gate.
  • When you ask him to side pass, let it be to avoid a puddle or to reach a gate latch.
  • When you circle let it be to influence his shape for his balance and comfort.
  • When to go for a ride let there be a destination.