I was recently in Stephenville, TX doing a private clinic with a wonderful family that has been very successful in the training and breeding business. We were starting colts in the morning and working on Horsemanship exercises that are a part of my Foundation To Finish program in the afternoons. Each day it became more apparent to the spectators and participants how important that initial foundation is to the young horses, that we we're working with, to progress them through the training process. I talked at length about how we are “Training our horses’ mind to Think” and how it is our job to present things in a way that helps our horses understand what responses we are asking for and to help them find that “release point”.
Horses are such smart and amazing animals, and when you make that connection, and you stimulate that incredibly talented animal to use the thinking side of their brain, it is extremely rewarding and can be life changing for a young trainer. When a horse is using the “reacting side” of their brain they send very clear signs and signals that tell you so if you know what you are looking for. It really makes no sense at all to expect a horse to progress in their training efficiently when they're switching back and forth from the “thinking side” of their brain to the “reacting side” of their brain. So, to “GET BETTER” everyday, the first thing I do when I work with a horse, whether it's a two year old or a ten year old, is to stimulate that horse mentally to engage the “thinking side” of that horse's brain. With a two year old I usually start this process by working them in the round pen until they soften in their head and neck and they are willing to put both eyes on me and take a step or two toward me when I stop them from their forward motion in their circle. With a horse that has had more training I always start with flexion and softening exercises so as to stimulate the “thinking side” of that horses brain and get him in the habit of looking for responses and finding the desired “release points”. There is no doubt in my mind that to “GET BETTER” you have to have your horse mentally prepared and then you are ready to teach the physical exercises that will help you to be successful in your desired discipline. The horses mind controls the body and sends the messages that helps your horse find those “release points” that we all desire.
I have proven to myself over the last three decades that training horses is a “thinking” game and to “GET BETTER” I need to continually strive to create a habit where my horses are using the “thinking side” of their brain so I can progress them through the training process as efficiently as possible. I hope this helps and if you have any questions please go to my site and send me an email or just give me a call. Best of luck and Safe Training.