The Importance of Timing

We communicate with a horse by using a corridor of pressures that suggest the shape, the pace, and the direction we want the horse to take. Removing a pressure is the horse’s "reward." It is the way we communicate to the horse, "Yes! That’s right." If your timing is off when you either apply a pressure or remove it, your communication becomes garbled. The horse will not make a clear connection between a particular pressure or corridor of pressures and the response you expect from him.

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Stopping a Runaway Horse

Most people think you control a horse by controlling its head. That does not work. You control a horse by controlling its mind. And you control a horse’s mind by controlling your own mind first. Mind control is what the training program we call heeding teaches our riders. They learn to keep their mind in the game stride by stride by stride by stride whether they are leading the horse from the barn to the arena, loading him on a trailer, riding him outdoors or competing at a show.

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Self-Control Precedes Horse Control

Merely causing a horse to do something does not mean that you are in control of the horse. Think about the times you have seen someone put a chain lead shank under a horse’s chin or over its nose. They may have been successful in leading that horse from Point A to Point B but the use of that shank is a dead giveaway that they were not really in control. If they were, coercive equipment would not be necessary.

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