Have you ever started a new training method with your horse and found that initial spark of communication has petered out? In October's magazine, Phillippa Christie helps us find our way through these sticking points. In this follow on article Phillippa provides some helpful case studies.
CASE STUDY EXAMPLES
So, all the science sounds great and maybe a bit technical, but what does it look like in reality when we apply it? Here are a few scenarios you may relate to. Names have been changed, but these are real-life client examples.
EXAMPLE 2 – JUMPING OUT DILLAN
Sherri loves to jump her OTTB Dillan, but Dillan has been building up a habit of running out of fences. All the pain checks have been made, and his tack is fitting him well. I ask Sherri to warm up and show me some jumps. I notice on approach to every jump that Sherri uses a lot of leg pressure and sometimes Dillan jumps and other times he runs out. Sherri tells me her jumping coach encourages her to put her leg on coming up to every jump.
Kate chats with qualified life coach, natural horsemanship instructor and secondary school teacher Helen O’Hanlon. In this discussion, they cover a variety of topics including cognitive behavioural coaching, mindfulness and positive psychology.
Helen is a fully qualified life coach, natural horsemanship instructor and secondary school teacher, and lives in County Cork, Ireland. She is a member of the Association of Coaches, The British Psychological Society and a member of the Teaching Council. She holds two first-class honours Masters in Education and Coaching Psychology from University College Cork.
There are two main things that a horse will innately do to alleviate any pressure. They will either do what they think you are asking them to do, or what they feel they need to do to survive. When horses work together in a herd, the lead horse will decide very quickly if they think the herd is in danger. If the lead horse feels that the herd is safe, the leader will communicate this to the rest of the herd by lowering her head and even perhaps starting to graze again (what she is asking them to do). But if her decision is that she perceives a potential predator, she will not hesitate to take flight, and the rest of the herd will instantly follow (what she feels they need to do to survive). When she feels that the herd has outrun the danger, she will turn and face the potential predator to see if they are now safe or need to keep running.