Before I get into this subject, I want to say that most clinics are successful and nothing goes wrong. However, because there are so many of them and so many different reasons for attending and types of horses and humans that they are not going to all work out. I have heard from many people who were unhappy with attending public clinics and what took place in the training of the horse. I started thinking of how to approach a clinic where this would not happen and figured this out...
the clinic doesn't take into consideration the horse as an individual, his history, his owners' history or the owner's personality. The other part is that the horse is expected to perform whatever is asked out of him and if the horse doesn't respond in the way the clinician expects him to respond then more pressure and constant requesting is put onto the horse making it so that the horse must comply. If the horse doesn't comply the owner is then looked at as being responsible for the negative behavior of the horse. All of these things could be avoided by following one simple rule.
1. The horse should be comfortable, relaxed, happy and focused through the whole process of his training. If the training brings something other than that out, instead of pushing the horse, a better approach should be figured out. Another thing that happens is that the steps between lessons are usually too large.
I watched a video on Youtube that showed the beginning training of a horse all the way through to a finished Western horse. The horse was a wild mustang and afraid of people. He was also afraid of his training and he learned rapidly, but never was the horse ever comfortable. Looking at the horses training you could not point out that anything that was done to the horse that you could call abusive. However, the whole time the horse was scared to death. This is another thing that gets in our way of what goes wrong, is that the horse and his comfort is overlooked.
So the ticket to remember is always train your horse in the moments of unity and harmony. Even aggressive horses can be trained out of their aggression with the same approach. Following this one simple law of training a horse at Liberty, where a horse has the right to choose his program, makes the advancement of the horse develop much quicker from the horses' enthusiasm to learn and perform.
I would love to hear your stories and details about clinics you have seen, where pushing a horse leads to non-productive training and unhappy, angry or fearful horse. Please do not use names.
Have a great weekend! Be on the lookout for new horse and human sightings and may the horse be with you.
Carolyn Resnick's Clinics:
Beyond the Waterhole Rituals Clinic - Starts May 29th - June 1st and is held in Escondido, California at Carolyn's Ranch
Beyond the Waterhole Rituals Clinic - Starts June 19th - June 22nd and is held in Escondido, California at Carolyn's Ranch
Online Bit-Less Dressage Course - Starts June 30th - September 8th and online every other week
For more information on any of the above clinics click on the above links or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.