Sometimes horse just go backwards in their training. If it happens to you here are some things to consider. Horses, like some people, don’t learn on an even trajectory. There are many ups and downs and plateaus.
After a horse has regressed and then proceeded to “relearn”
something, the horse will usually be more solid in his learning or mastering of
a maneuver etc. I’ve experienced this
first hand many, many times but it’s actually been proven in laboratory tests
too – with mice though, not horses – but the proof is in the results! When
horses come back after a regression they often exhibit more confidence. Many times even seeming “happier” with the
work they are asked to do.
I think it’s important to figure out what caused the horse
to regress in the first place. Sometimes
it’s as simple as they need a break from hard work. Other times it can happen after a long show
or tough competition where the work was demanding and maybe a little over their
comfort zone. In some cases I change up
their work for a while and then go back to the “old” work and viola!, we have
good results. In other cases I may decide
that more of a change is needed and I’ll even back down on their bit, or spurs
or whatever’s needed to get them back to a level they’re confident at, then we
patiently work our way back up from there.
Just break things down to a level the horse is confident in
and be patient. And, more likely than
not, he will be a better trained horse than before the regression. I can’t say it enough though; the most
important thing here is to be patient, to not get frustrated with the backwards
step. Just calmly go back through the
work, retraining patiently as you go, and you’ll be surprised how fast you’ll
be back where you want to be.
Horses learn by repetition, and they learn by making
mistakes. They learn in an uneven
pattern but they will always go forward if you take the time to help them
through whatever difficulty they are having.
Remember: it’s all about building confidence! Talk to you next week, JD