We expect so much "obedience" from our horses. They should do as we say. We should be able to initiate a movement and the horse should continue until we ask them to stop. And yet they do their very best to carry us no matter how crooked we are or how long we make them work - they are so generous.
"Watch for your horse to do something right, then reward," Monty Roberts instructs us time and again. At the end of the ride it can be a sugar cube or carrot, but what about during the work? Each day of training should see a few more steps of correctness at any level of training. Why should the horse continue to add more steps if you are not appropriately grateful for their effort? As any great master teaches piaffe or passage or basic backing, there is a stage whisper they all assume to quietly give instructions to the rider and keep a soft tone to encourage the horse. It is so consistently effective.
We all like to be asked. We all like to be thanked. So do horses. (next article >>)