Don’t lose heart and Don’t give up!
When you’re frustrated or stumped because you can’t seem to get your horse to do what you want…
You don’t understand why your horse is doing something, or not doing something.
You just can’t seem to get your horse to understand what you’re asking.
No matter how hard you’ve tried, and how many times you’ve tried…
Don’t give up.
Just try looking at the situation from a different perspective.
“Turn the world upside down” is always my mantra when something just isn’t working the way I want it to.
I am always reading, researching, and learning. I love it. But it’s not only about horses but also about other subjects I find interesting.
One of those subjects is how to keep me healthy as I age. I’m sure you know; that women go through a number of life stages and our bodies change in so many ways. Especially our metabolism. And this can change not only with our age, our stage in life (pre and post-menopause) but also with our eating habits.
My goal has always been to stay as healthy as possible at any stage of life. But sometimes it is harder than we think. And sometimes we do something we “think” is good for us, and later we find out it has the opposite effect. Like yo-yo dieting. It was all the craze back in the day. Now I think the latest craze is intermittent fasting as keto has started to phase out.
So anyway, back to my story.
Sticking to my Mantra, I’ve recently been looking at keeping healthy from a different perspective again and turning the world upside down. Looking at it from the inside-out instead of the outside-in.
I was reading about how the normal Eat Less and Exercise More approach to staying healthy actually sends a woman’s metabolism into a tailspin. Thus, making it harder for us to keep our inside health in balance. Which then causes issues on the “outside”.
Part of my research has also revealed how working Anaerobically instead of Aerobically is much more beneficial for women over 50. This is all new to me as I was the “aerobic queen” when I was younger. I loved going to aerobic classes and was really into the leggings, sweatbands, cute outfits, and of course the 80s music.
Well, according to my research, now that I’ve hit a new stage of my life (over 50), I’m supposed to do the opposite of what I’ve always been taught to do…
Eat less, exercise more, and sweat it out to music as hard as I could.
As I’m learning more and reading this new approach I thought, “this is just like with horses”.
Not the age stuff. But the idea that the best approach now with horses is the opposite of what I was taught growing up. Instead of forcing the horse to do what you’re telling it because “you need to be the boss”, you can now ask your horse to cooperate with you in a gentle way and still get the job done.
The funny thing is that with the new gentler approach to horses you can actually get better performance from your horse than the old way of using force and dominance.
As with many ideas, these have developed over time and evolved into better approaches. Working smarter, not harder.
I noticed while I was reading about doing anaerobic exercises that it was very much like how I approach training with my horses. Working in small, short bursts and then allowing time to rest for both me and my horse.
I like to train in short bursts. It’s better for me and my horse. That means one lesson a day and keeping that lesson short. My students hear me say, “always end on a good note”, all the time. I mean it! If you are working on one lesson and your horse accomplishes it in 5 minutes, the lesson is over.
No drilling it in, no let’s try again and again and again. One and done. It seems strange because it’s not what we are used to. We were told, when I was younger, to keep training until the horse gets it and then push more to make sure he remembers it. But now we don’t have to do it that way anymore. It’s become easier.
Just like my aerobics class that made me sweat for an hour non-stop. Now I can do short bursts of energy and long periods of rest until I can do the short bursts again. It’s actually working better than my aerobics classes did.
Doing anaerobic short bursts of exercise and then resting is supposed to help build muscle tone and muscle memory. Just like teaching your horse one lesson a day and then resting helps teach your horse when he has done the lesson correctly and gives him time to process the lesson. This way he not only learns it in his own way, but this helps him remember it better too.
Now that doesn’t mean that you need to go out, do one lesson for 5 minutes, and when your horse gets it right you leave. It just means that if you want to really see progress with your horse, train in short bursts and allow your horse time to process the new information.
Here is a typical scenario:
- Go out to your horse and greet him, scratch him, love on him.
- Take some time to just hang out together and connect with him and with the nature around you.
- Then go into your routine of grooming your horse. You can do this with or without a halter, depending on where you groom. You can also add this into a feeding time.
- After he is done eating and you’re done grooming, start your lesson.
- This can be a new lesson or a lesson you are still working on and developing.
- Once your horse is able to do the lesson, or he has progressed a bit further, stop the lesson on a good note and congratulate him on doing his best.
- Then move on to something he feels is fun. Something that is not new that the two of you enjoy doing together. This could be taking a walk, going for a ride, getting a bath, etc…
- After this, you could then go back and do some more work on the previous lesson if it is a lesson that you are progressing on but have not completed. Just make sure there is some major time in between the two lesson times on the same day. 2-3 hours.
- Once you are done having fun together, end your day and say thank you with some more love and scratches. And say goodbye until tomorrow.
- Then tomorrow do it all over again.
Keep it simple, keep it fun, and your horse will progress faster and farther than you ever thought possible. That added rest time to process a new lesson is extremely helpful for both you and your horse.
So, whenever you are frustrated or stuck with your training don’t give up and don’t lose heart. “Turn the world upside down” and look at it from a different perspective. Try working in small segments and allowing lots of time for relaxation and time for your horse to process.
And if you’re still stuck, give me a call and I will try to help you and your horse figure it out. As long as you have heart, you have a way to resolve any and all issues. Plus, my 45-minute discovery call is a complimentary call. It’s only the two of us having a friendly chat about your horse, no pressure.
Here’s the link to sign up.
Until next week…Happy Horses!