Sunday, January 22, 2012

Slow Down

     As I go about my week at the barn I notice many things, and as there are a lot of comings and goings at Eagle Mt. Ranch, there's much for me to observe and think about.
     Everyone is in such a hurry these days.  I must always remind my clients to change gears, sort of down-shift, when they get to the barn.  Horses do much better if they are handled and ridden in a quiet and deliberate manner.  When you get to your barn, start to slow your thought process down.  Take a deep breath and try to relax.  Slowing you mind down will help to slow your body actions. Being in a hurry and rushing around horses is a recipe for failure and at worst, is a disaster in the making.  Also, always remember that horses have to "figure out" what we want to communicate.  Give them a fair chance to absorb what you're trying to teach them or ask them to do.
     Because people are in such a hurry, they often jump from one question to another and frequently don't take the time to really think about the material they are trying to learn.  Much of good horsemanship is more complex than what it first appears.  Many times I'm asked a seemingly simple question that I find there's no one simple answer to.  Unfortunately, there are no quick and clever answers - even the most basic of things can be much more involved than what first appears.  As an example: a simple discussion of proper hoof care or even how to properly handle a hoof pick should receive serious attention.  Properly and safely bridling and un-bridling a horse is another task that is also too often thoughtlessly and hurriedly done.
      Even the way you talk to your horse can make a difference in your relationhsip with him.  Talking slowly is calming.  For instance, learning to say "wwwhhhoooaaaa..." and not just "ho!!" when riding (in most cases) and softly rubbing, stoking or patting versus furiously banging on the horse when you're pleased, can make a positive difference.  I could go on and on, but I think you get the idea.  See you next week!  JD

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