There is no use training your horse with something (flag, stick, leadrope) unless they are connected to it. This exercise will help you connect your horse to you and your tool. They do not have to follow you, the goal is to see how easily you can get them to connect with you. Following you is a by-product but not the objective of this exercise.
This exercise is the most basic step in getting a horse to realize that you are aware of how they are feeling inside and where their attention is. Even if you think your horse is at a more advanced level than this, try it out anyway and just begin to notice where your horse’s attention goes. Practicing this skill will make everything later on much easier for you and your horse.
– Start as far away as possible.
– If their ears are not fixated on something, do the same thing but work on the eye turning toward you.
– As soon as you get the ear or the eye, turn and walk away.
– Wait a minute or so then start again.
– If they leave, let them get all the way away before attempting to get their attention again.
– Take your time
– No expectations
– Do not wave the flag fast. Do not force anything or it will turn into obedience and you won’t get anywhere.
– Having an agenda or expectation. This is a relationship-building exercise. That is your only goal. Build a relationship.
– If their ears are fixated on something, work on getting an ear with the flag. Do this from a long way away, as subtle as possible
(so no pressure, you want to attract their attention, not force it). Start by moving your feet, then slowing moving the flag.
So, on this first day that you are going to go out and try the exercise, it’s more important that you practice getting the changes of focus than it is that they follow you around. They will learn more in the process of repetition than they will in the following you around. So, the more times that you can get their attention with the flag and then show them that you saw their change in focus, that is the goal for today. Not following you around.
Remember, this is just the “next thing” in the process, don’t worry about the “Days” anymore. You are on your timeline…not ours.
A reminder of how to use this course: click on Mark Complete below and tomorrow you will move on to Day 10.