You might be able to do a wonderful piaffe with your horse and a bridle, but is he able to do it without?
Does he WANT to do the piaffe rather then to be MADE to perform this exercise?
Does he have not only a balanced body but also a balanced mind?
And do you have a balanced relationship, so that he stays with you during the exersise or does he leave you?
Check out ‘the truth’ by doing straightness training at liberty!
You will find out if he trusts you, if he respects you, if he likes to work with you and if he WANTS to do what you want! Because at liberty you can’t control your horse physically and you can’t MAKE him do something and you can’t MAKE him to behave.
Investigate the truth…
At liberty you can do a lot of investigation:
- How does your horse responds to only your inner thoughts, feeling, energy and body language?
- Does he see the whip as an extension of your energy or is he afraid of it?
- Is he able to bend to the inside on a circle without any help of cavesson, reins or longe-line?
- Does he WANT to curve his body to the inside? Or do you notice that you actually have to MAKE him bend all the time?
- So is his MIND with you during the circle? Is he “thinking” to the inside?
- Does he show self carriage in the more difficult exercises at liberty or can’t he do it without the ‘side wheels’ you give him (support of reins/legs)?
- Is he asking questions and doing suggestions? Does he offer to do things for you?
- So is there a nice dialogue between you and the horse?
- Or is it more like a monologue with only you expressing your thoughts and wants?
- Is his reaction “Bye, I’m outta here” or “Hello, I’m in!”
“AHA, that’s interesting”
Whatever happens, whatever the truth is, take responsibility.
See it as a study: study yourself, study your horse, study the body, study the mind, study the relationship.
Know what you want, and change your approach if you don’t have what you want.
The end result of proper straightness training is:
- A balanced body of the horse
- A balanced mind of the horse
- A balanced body of the rider
- A balanced mind of the rider
- A balanced relationship between both
You need to see which element is getting out of balance and you have to address it.
So if something is out of balance, see it as a challenge!