Horse training and balance - The Horse Forum
  • 7 Post By Smilie
  • 4 Post By LoriF
  • 1 Post By Bright Stride Equine
  • 3 Post By tinyliny
  • 2 Post By Smilie
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post #1 of 8 Old 11-25-2016, 09:42 PM Thread Starter
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Horse training and balance

I read a good article recently, that sort of touches on quite a few subjects recently discussed here, and thought I would share some key points for thought

Most times, when the topic of balance comes up, in regards to horse training, it is physical terms that are the subject. Distribution of the rider's weight, the horse balanced between the front and hind end, balance between reins and legs. combined with timing and feel

There is another balance, just as important, and can be more challenging, also requiring timing and feel. That balance includes , balance between softness and boundaries, between kindness and rules, between discipline and fun, and between consequences and reward

The author acknowledges two main types of imbalances,when it comes to people.There are those that are all about rules, boundaries, discipline and consequences, and those who are all softness, kindness, fun and reward.

Somewhere between these tow ends of the spectrum is a perfect balance that results in an emotionally balanced confident horses and humans who communicate clearly with compassionate understanding of who is in charge

The author encourages every horse owner to find that balance, even if it results in trial and error, summing up that concept with two quotes
The first is an Old cowboy one.

"Good judgement comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad Judgement'.

The second is an old martial arts saying:
' The difference between a master and a beginner, is that the master has failed more times then the beginner has even tried'

These two quotes hit home to me, as my journey with horses truly has been over many years, learning equally from my mistakes as from what I have done right, and am still learning
Somehow life seems very unfair, because once you have gained a fair amount of horse knowledge, over many years, your body no longer is young enough to apply all that knowledge, esp training young or problem horses!
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post #2 of 8 Old 11-26-2016, 03:07 AM
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well said, Smilie.
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post #3 of 8 Old 11-26-2016, 08:49 AM
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Thanks for this post, Smilie. It presents a principle of training and riding that is not always considered.

Training riders and horses to work in harmony.
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post #4 of 8 Old 11-26-2016, 10:11 AM
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I have a tendency to lean more to the disciplinarian side. But, I am always striving to balance that out.

When I was a kid and had my pony, we used to have great fun. We rode to a lot of places and many times I would stop by the house to eat, drink and refresh. I would put Ray Ray in the backyard to relax and graze a bit. After a while I would go back there and play with him, and I mean play. No discipline, no structure, nothing, just play. We would play tag where I would chase him and he would run. And then I would run away and he would chase me. We had a ball. Not once did he ever try to hurt me. When we were both tired and out of breath, I would sit down and open up a bottle of coca cola for a drink. Ray Ray would come over and ask for a sip and I would give him the last drink in the bottom of the bottle. I would tip it up for him and he would slurp it down. I know, not a great idea, but he loved it.

So, we moved across country and I had to leave him behind with the lady where I kept him. Her son rode him until he died at the age of 34 but he had a good life.
Besides an occasional trail ride with friends who had horses, they were non existent in my life for a good twenty years.

Fast forward to now, well, eight years ago I decided to get another horse. She was an older horse that had been shown a lot, used as a broodmare, and then retired. When I got her, she had not been ridden in over eight years and she was a handful. Not once did I ever think that I could not handle it, but it was intimidating at first. I was fully aware that this huge animal could seriously hurt me if I wasn't careful. That's when I became the disciplinarian.

Through the years of owning her and then getting another horse, and then another, I have learned to relax a bit. I still err on the side of being tougher but still striving for that balance. All of my horses are different and they all have taught me something different with new ways to work with them.

For a while now, through circumstances, I have not been in the saddle much but I still see them and hang out with them almost every day. Honestly, I feel that I have learned more from them in the absence of "trying to do something with them" than any other time.

Thanks for the post. This is the sort of balance that we often tend to forget.
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post #5 of 8 Old 11-26-2016, 11:13 AM
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Could not agree more.

At first I always am disappointed in myself for being too firm or not being clear or misunderstanding. But I always have to bring it back to the fact that if I did not mess up, I would be be where I am today.

Horses are definitely good at three things:
1. Keeping my ego in check
2. Reminding me that more often than not, I am the student, they are the teacher.
3. And forgiving me for all my flaws and failures.

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post #6 of 8 Old 11-26-2016, 11:25 AM Thread Starter
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Just going to bump this thread up, as I think it gives points that apply just to general good training, and that perhaps helps people to find that balance, thus not be fixated on any extreme end. That balance does not need to be the same for everyone, but either extreme end of that spectrum is not correct either.

It is a well accepted understanding that horses are forgiving. Becuase of this,a horse owner can explore and experiment with their horses, discover the perfect feel by being wrong at times, learning the hard way
Through exploration, experimentation, and observation the right balance is found
We need to explore both ends of the spectrum, in order to find the perfect balance.
I took the base of this thread, from an article, by Christa Miremadi, from the horse publication, Saddle Up', and don't want to take credit , as all I did, was try and post some of her keys points, which I feel are very applicable and sound
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post #7 of 8 Old 11-26-2016, 01:56 PM
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I will more often regret being overly firm, than overly soft.
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post #8 of 8 Old 11-26-2016, 10:47 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by tinyliny View Post
I will more often regret being overly firm, than overly soft.
But in that journey of regret, you are finding the balance that works for you and your horses, and that is the key point.
Horses are very forgiving, and not wreaked by the odd moment one strays too far in either direction
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