(re)Training horses, step-by-step

In my equitation science workshops, I show a slide with a steps and landings.  Frustration’s inevitable when we find ourselves one flight down from our last schooling session. ..especially if it happens in the warm up ring at a show!  (Been there).
 “But he never does this at home!” “C’mon – you KNOW this, perfectly well!”

I was reading a book by renowned dressage coach, Jane Savoie. I love what she wrote:

“Be satisfied with anything that is ‘a little better’. Your horse will not go from lousy to perfect, or from stiff to supple. He will get a little less lousy until he eventually becomes a little better, then a lot better.”

These keys help me after a set-back:

  • Detach from your frustration.  Emotions make our aids unclear.
  • Ride the horse you have today.
  • Be analytical. Evaluate.  Devise a logical, systematic plan to  rebuild the skill.
  • Progress in  small increments or steps
  • Reward every try from your horse with release.  “Yes, you’re on the right track!”