HIDEAWAY TRAINING TIP
GETTING & KEEPING YOUR HORSE'S ATTENTION
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Ever see someone riding a horse and the horse is so responsive that it appears that the horse is practically reading the rider's mind? Well of course the horse can't read a persons mind, he is just totally focused on the rider and always waiting for the next cue. Here is an exercise that you can do that will have your horse paying attention in no time at all.
This exercise is done from the saddle and is a great warm-up for any riding activity. First, you must understand that if you want the horse to pay attention to you, you must pay attention to the horse. The better you concentrate, the better the horse will concentrate. After tacking up and climbing in the saddle, ask you horse to walk straight forward two or three steps and then stop. Immediately ask your horse to back two or three steps and then stop. Ask your horse to move off to the left for two or three steps and then stop. Back two or three steps and stop. Right two or three steps and stop. Back and stop.
Repeat again. Forward, stop. Back, stop. Left, stop.
Back, stop. Right, stop. Back, stop. Do five repetitions and stop for
a few minutes and just sit and praise your horse. Begin again and repeat
the exercise five more times.
Notice that after each forward or side movement we
ask the horse to stop and back. This gets the horse focused on us and
waiting for the next cue. He gets very responsive as he knows you are
paying attention and he is anticipating the fact that you will ask him
to do something.
This is a great exercise for a couple of reasons. When
the horse is paying this much attention to you, he is much less likely
to be distracted or frightened by other activities around you. It also
teaches the horse a good whoa. To back up, he must stop first. and when
you do this exercise, you are constantly stopping and backing after each
forward movement. This gets his mind thinking he will have to stop when
you ask because the next thing you will ask is to back.
Remember that your horse will only give
you as much attention as you give him. If you want him to concentrate
on you, concentrate on him. You will only get what you give, but it's
worth every second of the effort.