Dealing with Resistance to Develop the Trust

For anybody coming in to my blog for the first time, I welcome you. Thursday’s blog is my classroom on the Uberstreichen Exercises, the exercises that I offer are a system of training horses to be able to create collection when you ride and to introduce tack and rein aids. You can go back through the blog and find the start of this class. If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment.

Continuing with the program…

After having worked with the first Uberstreichen Exercise for a month, on a regular basis for 10 minutes a day, and that you feel that you have received a great deal of benefit, you are ready to move on to the Second Uberstreichen Exercise. Before I give you the next exercise, on next Thursday, I want to further explain some details in what we are achieving through their practice, and what benefits you need to have received from the first exercise.

1. Your horse is more trusting.

2. Your horse is willing to allow you to hold on to both sides of the halter, in a free-floating hold that asked nothing from the horse.

3. Your horse allows you to manipulate his head, when his muscles are relaxed, because it feels good to him.

4. Your horse will allow you to hold his head down for 3 minutes or longer and looks forward to it.

5. The exercise puts him in a state of bliss.

6. You can move his head up and down, and in and out, making circles and infinity loops.

7. You are beginning to create an arch in your horse’s neck, adjusting your horse’s head by taking it down and in, up and in and out. Remember to always release to a free-floating hold. Each time you will find a different pattern of adjustment needed, and each time it will take you a shorter time to achieve the arch from the evolution of practice. The horse will begin to offer the arch on his own when you ask for it, because he understands what you want and from his desire to perform what you are asking him to do.

8. You have developed a deeper bond with your horse.

The purpose of my Methods is to create a riding horse for all equestrian pursuits, with tack and without it. My first phase is getting the horse to perform without tack through the Waterhole Rituals. I do so by developing the bond, the respect and performance at liberty. Then I train the horse to accept tack with the UE, and remove his resistance to tack, until he is able to respond to my direction through tack as freely as he does at liberty. Later on, I move to the next phase of training, using a single line to introduce rein aids for direction and collection, and a more sophisticated gas pedal and brake. The last phase is to train the horse without the influence of tack, to ride bridle-less.

Working with the Uberstreichen Exercises, my focus is to find and remove the resistance in the horse toward tack and our control. The tack is introduced to the horse in a way that removes the resistance he would naturally have for it. The Uberstreichen Exercises are also a way to bring well-being to the horse, like one would do with massage, to create relaxation and to relieve tension and anxiety.

Working with the Uberstreichen Exercises you do not want to hide the resistance, or to figure out how to train the horse bypassing the resistance. You want the resistance to come out in the open, and remove it in a nurturing way. This is important. This kind of work takes the “hidden anxiety” out of the horse at all levels, because it deepens and matures our partnership and trust while it creates an amazing performance for collection under saddle.

Many of you that are normally using tack have found resistance in your horses when beginning to use the UE by standin in front of your horse. This resistance is a sign that your horse is not really experiencing a sense of freedom and willingness, nor he is understanding how to respond to being directed with the reins, when you ride him with tack and use rein aids.

Horses need to be introduced to rein aids in an inviting way. Once we find their resistance, we need to release it the same way we have done when introducing the Waterhole Rituals, looking for the bond when the connection in unity and harmony is present. The horse gets to respond and react, while we work with his responses and reactions without using force, in a nurturing way. This causes him to give up the resistance in the most natural way.

At liberty, we clearly can see when our horse is not happy and not connected and this gives us a better understanding in knowing how to approach him.

With tack a horse will hide his feeling, because he thinks he has no choice and he has been trained to think like that in general with other methods. The horse loses his sense of freedom and self-expression and personal power. Using the Uberstreichen Exercises, in a soft way, the horse begins to see that you allow him a voice. He, then, has time to adjust to rein aids and you can easily find the resistance and begin to remove it, right when it is presented. At the same time, you can teach your horse how to take direction and to collect. It is a slow process but many things are being gained. Through this process you develop you skill, and the tasks are easy to accomplish.

I have found that horses that truly enjoy performing with tack and rein aids, when tested with the Uberstreichen Exercises, respond with no resistance whatsoever. If a horse does not like your hand on the halter in a loving way, what do you think he likes about having to listen to your reins no matter what, and to go where you choose?

Some of you are feeling squeamish about getting your horse to accept you standing in front of him and holding onto the halter, or feel you may not have the skill. You really do not need much skill. The natural skill you need is the one you would go about in how to get a child to accept a seat belt, when he would not want to do so without force or more crying.

Rein aids are not natural to horses. Even when they seem to respond well to them there can be hidden anxiety, that is not good for a horse on a regular bases. If we take it slowly, we can then bring the relationship we share with a horse to a greater trust and well being, and get rid of this hidden anxiety that we can see in the pictures of horses in performance.

Even if you are never planning on using tack I still advise that you use the UE, because of the benefit the horse gains for his well-being, and the deeper trust and bond you gain from this practice.

In the comments section, this time, feel free to share your journey up to this point using the exercises, how you have personally benefited and the insights you have gained or the problems you experienced in understanding them. Feel free to ask any questions you might have before we move on.

My last note is that if you feel challenged and do not resonate with the exercise, please, do not keep trying to use the UE, because they will not work well if you are not relaxed, grounded and pleased with the process. Horses notice this and will respond by not wanting to give up their resistance easily. We are not wanting to get in a fight, or teach a horse to be more resistant.

Stay calm, stay relaxed and go slowly. The exercises ahead are much easier.

Looking forward to hearing from you and wishing you a Happy New Year!

Carolyn