Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Alberta, Canada
One of the things about being a trainer is knowing how much your horse can handle mentally, and staying within those bounds. Each horse is different, therefore each training method is different.
I have a two year old colt I just got that I've just started under saddle (not riding, just been saddled three times) and soon he'll be ready for the bit and then start to learn collection. He's a fast learner and takes things right in stride.
I rode an eight year old mare that hasn't been touched, and she is completely different. She's going at a much slower rate, but as long as I don't push her beyond what she's capable of, she'll be great in the end - lots of potential, but she'll train slower then my colt.
That being said, there is a big difference between being scared of something, and being just downright ignorant. If they're genuinely scared of something, I will ask for something - I might have started to ask for them to cross the tarp, but if it's too much mentally for them, just one step on it will do for the day. It's a step in the right direction before the brain shuts down and all we do is fight.
If I know they're being ignorant (such as a horse not wanting to walk through water when they've done it before) you bet I'll push until he goes.
It's all in knowing your horse and what s/he can handle and knowing when to stop while the going is good. There's no point in fighting once they stop thinking because it just turns miserable for everyone, and you have a much harder time the next time around because usually frustration sets in and you usually end up losing that fight.
I always ask for improvement, but it depends on the situation and horse on how much I ask for. A small step forward is still not a step back.