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Approach: The Third of 6 Keys To Building A Life Long Partnership With Your Horse
In horse training or natural horsemanship, Approach isnothing more than a technique or method used in helping yourhorse to understand what it is you want him to do.
I feel it's important to point out at this time that one ofthe major reasons people fail to achieve excellence withtheir horse is that they are not mentally, emotionally andphysically fit. The way to achieve this is by beingpersistent and consistent in learning and practicing yourhorse training / natural horsemanship skills. Remember,It's not your horses fault, it's your responsibility to befit if you're to achieve success and excellence with yourhorse.
In talking about Approach or techniques, we'll use someexamples to point out some approaches people take inworking with their horses, which are very different fromnatural horsemanship.
Let's talk a little about longeing? Most people longetheir horses to exercise them, but let's look at whathappens when you do this. Your horse is going inmindless circles usually circling to the left and willcertainly get stronger physically, but unfortunately, hewill also get mentally weaker because you are onlyexercising his body and not his mind. It's importantto exercise both his body and mind.
Now let's look at lateral longeing. This is where we aregoing to exercise both your horse's body and mind. First,what are the differences between longeing and laterallongeing?
In normal longeing, the person is only exercising the horseto take off the edge so the horse will be easier to ride.I think it's important to note that if your longeing yourhorse 15 minutes to take off the edge eventually you will beexercising him 30 minutes to take off the edge and as youcontinue this regime he will become stronger and strongeruntil you can no longer handle him.
In lateral longeing, you're looking to develop acommunication system with your horse along with exercisinghis body and mind, which will cause your hose to beemotionally collected. This communication system is builtaround 6 yields? Your horse going forward, backward,left, right, up or down. These 6 yields work into a seriesof maneuvers, which will exercise your horses mind and body.By being persistent and using the 6 yields you will helpyour horse to be mentally collected and instead ofincreasing the time it takes to get your horse under controlyou will decrease the time each day. By using laterallongeing you can help your horse to become mentallycollected in a shorter period of time.
Remember that horses can do only 6 things, but they can dothem in combination? Move forward, backward, left, right,up and down. Your goal should be to get your horse to goforward, backward and sideways whenever you ask him. If youcan do this, you will become the Alpha horse in hissociety.
When you teach your horse to go backwards you are alsoteaching him to stop. The better he backs up the better hestops. When you teach him to go sideways, you are alsoteaching him to steer left or right. When moving right orleft you are simply moving his hindquarters or frontquarters or moving them both at the same time to movesideways. Most horsemen will tell you that the better ahorse backs up and goes sideways the better he will doeverything else.
Lateral longeing is different from normal longeing in thatyou are exercising your horses mind with his body followingnaturally causing your horse to yield to you mentally.
Let' take a quick look at Riding. What do most people doafter saddling and getting on their horse? They kick him togo, rein him across the neck to turn and pull on him tostop. Instead, why not get him mentally and emotionallyready before we go riding? Why not put your horse throughthe 6 yields? Yes, I know that takes some time, but is it worth it to you and your horse to be emotionally and mentally fit before you go riding?
After putting you horse through the 6 yields you're nowready to mount. After you're mounted, it's time to ask yourhorse to move forward. Instead of kicking him to go why notask him to move by giving him a cue?
For example, if you want to move your horse forward, put 2or 3 cues together, put them in order and be consistent withthem and your horse will eventually respond to the cues.An example of this would be to 1. Squeeze both cheeks ofyour buttocks tightly. If that won't cause him to moveforward then progress to cue number 2. Genteelly squeezewith your legs clear to your ankles and use a verbal cuesuch as a cluck, kiss or smooch. If this still won't gethim moving forward then progress to cue number 3. Give yourhorse a spank, preferably closer to the center of the tailhead. This will start your horse to move straight. If youspank right or left of center, you will cause your horse tomove off to the left or right.
When using cues remember to start the cue with lightpressure and increasing the pressure, (the pressure shouldonly be for a few seconds before moving on to the next cue)and if there is no response move on to the next cue untilyou get the desired response. With practice andconsistency, your hose will learn to move off the pressure(cue) at the slightest squeeze of your buttocks or legs,whichever you decided to use as your cue.
This article is getting long so I will briefly touch onstopping your horse. There are two ways to stop your horse,pulling back on the reins which most people use (the horsecan get wise, tuck his chin and keep running) or you canbend your horses neck around with one rein and cause him tostop. If you can bend his neck to the right and stop hisright side then his left side is probably not going to runoff and vise versa.
I do not recommend letting or allowing your horse to stop onhis own; if you allow this behavior, you will eventuallyhave problems with keeping your horse moving. You only wantyour horse to stop after preparing him with a cue to stopand then giving him the cue to stop. A cue might be, youbringing down your energy by putting both hands on yourthighs, completely relax and look down at your tummy, to sumit up, quit riding. Eventually your horse figures out thatyou have stopped riding and he will stop. Remember, youhave to be consistent and persistent, it is not going tohappen over night, but eventually your horse will figure outthe cues and you will get the desired response. One otherthing, make sure you keep your horse straight. This willcause him to stop. Don't worry about him not stopping asquickly as you like as long as he comes to a stop. As Isaid before it takes time to get the desired response.
Good Luck and have fun with your horse!
This article is brought to you by Perfect Horse Gifts
If you like this article and would like to learn moreor would like to send it to a friend, please feel freeto do so. You can subscribe at: Perfect HorseGifts or TheRoundup
In the next article, we will discuss Patients? Bepatient/tolerant, take the time do it right and youwon't have to go back and do it again and again.Helping your horse to understand what it is you wanthim to do.
Copyright © Mike Gorzalka All Rights Reserved Worldwide
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*DISCLAIMER*: The information contained in this articleis of my personal opinions and beliefs and should notbe taken as anything more.
About The Author:
Mike Gorzalka has spent the better part of his lifearound horses. His dad, Mike Sr., taught him theimportance of understanding the horse and how to use afirm, but kinder and gentler approach to helping horsesunderstand what it is we humans are trying tocommunicate.
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