Connected Horsemanship's Laura Domenica training a horse“When we do things right, We get a response. When we do the right thing We make the connection” [Laura Domenica, Connected Horsemanship 2007]. I was playing with a horse belonging to a very plucky girl who had been doing natural horsemanship for some time without the help of a tutor. The horse was not easy and she had done an admirable job. Early on in the lesson while playing with her horse she commented to me, “he’s not really paying attention”. Later in the lesson when I was playing with the horse she said “You’re phase one is very short” That’s because it’s what your horse needs I replied. But that’s not what it says to do she said. It’s supposed to be long phase 1 then 2, 3, 4 she replied. Being familiar with this concept, I understood exactly what she meant. I was still using this principle but I had adapted its timing to suit the needs of the horse. The horse clearly understood the request but he did not understand the necessity to carry it out when asked to do so.This was a result of many confirmations that his less than best effort was acceptable. In order to establish an understanding I had to make it clear to the horse exactly what was required. That required a genuine phase one “ask” followed quickly by “please respond”. Technique is necessary, but we need to know whether it is appropriate, we need to know when to apply it, in what measure and in which way, for the particular horse in the particular situation. This knowledge comes with time and patience, with practice and dedication and with the help and tolerance of the wonderful creature we call the Horse. This is the development of feel. It is a never ending process.

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