Well, being aware when there is a shishm in the lines of communication is certainly a great skill to have. It sounds that you are maintaining a pretty solid focus on your horse, thus you can tell when he is with you and when he is not. This is kind of rare in a lot of riders. They just assume that since THEY want to slow down/speed up, that the horse is thinking with them. But the hrose is thinking about what the other horses are doing back at the barn, or what the rustling in the bushes is all about.
It really is absolute key to riding to be aware of "where your horse's mind is". horses are programmed to keep being outwardly focussed and scan their environment for danger every 30 secs or so. We have to be aware of that and alway be aware of when our horse has left us mentally. But neither do we want to yank their attention back, unless the horse has yanked his attention far away and endangers us. If the though is still light, it may not take much at all to bring them back. It can be like a silk thread; I light hand brings it back, pull too hard and it will break.
I thought about this this morning when I tried like the dickens to get Zulu to cross the muddy creek and come to me for 'catching", instead of me having to cross it and go to him. The most of the herd came over to see if I had carrots, but Zulu stood watching. I tried to keep him watching me, and I watched his face to see the "click" when he makes the decision to move. I tried moving his rear feet a bit, because sometiems just moving a horse's feet will tip him over the balance into a decision. But, push too hard and he will decide to leave me for the open 40 acres.
So, like I said, I "broke" out his rear feet, but he did not come, and in fact, chose to start walking away. So, I crossed the creek and walked partly behind, partly in his left eye and gently scuffled the rope against my thigh to get his attention. When he looked out of curiousity, I paused and held out my hand (with small carrot, which he can barely see). He goes to eat the grass, and I gently scuffle the rope (hey! I am still here!) he looks back, pauses and then decides "well, she's not going to leave me alone so I might as well go see what she wants". He walks right up. gets carrot and some rubs. No rushing. just some petting and time together then put the halter on.
walking him the long road back to the barn, if he starts to turn back to "hollar" at the herd, I look for him to leave me mentally, and i give the rope the tiniest little wiggle, . . he comes back to me. The sooner I catch the thought that is leaving, the lighter that thought is and the easier it is to invite it back to me.
Look to your horse, where is his thought? How heavy is it?
Last edited by tinyliny; 06-16-2012 at 12:25 AM.