Fear is a daily factor for both horse and rider; both the horse and the rider can conquer it, but it has to be done in a manner by the rider taking the initial step and then guiding the horse through the process of calming and then relaxing and then projecting that calmness to allow the horse to relax and feel trust and confidence through your hands. How does this apply to finishing a horse? Quite simply, if the horse is not finished they do not have the knowledge that they can turn to you for guidance in times of fear. Let’s take it a step further and compare an unfinished horse and a rider that does not understand their role in a fear situation with a finished horse and the rider that has the confidence to guide the horse through their fear process.
We have been taught to handle fearful times as a human being, but the horse has a different reaction to an identical situation and what you need to understand is how to help the horse handle fear on their own terms. Understanding that will allow a fearful situation to be met head-on and handled as a team.
Most riders end up with problems with a horse simply through the use of their own body language that they relay to the horse. Let’s look at a very simple and everyday situation that can happen when you are out trail riding and the horse becomes unexpectedly startled by something that you aren’t able to see. First, the horse will stop dead and start to look around and in many cases locate it long before we do, it is at this point that the horse will give a slight indication that it is unsure of the situation. In the next few seconds, your reaction to this indicator will determine the results of the overall situation. You can become started or you can remain calm, the choice is up to you.
Until next time “Ride for the Brand”.