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DOES YOUR HORSE NOTICE YOU?

Don Jessop

When you walk out your door, walk down the barn aisle or walk through the gait to your horse's paddock, they should notice you. If they don't bother to look up, you're not in trouble yet, but you could be.

One of the most important, if not THE most important aspect of horsemanship, is garnering your horse's attention. If you don't have their attention, you're just a puppeteer pulling the strings. But if they are focused on you, and understand your cues, they act in harmony. The don't hesitate to try. They appreciate you and respect you. And, at their best, they look for you when you walk through the gait even come to meet you because, dare I say, they love being with you inspite of your dedicated training and practice with them.

Many times, in the beginning, even in my own beginning, we don't, I didn't, understand the idea of attention-based training. I simply caught my horse, sometimes by chasing them down, wrapped a saddle on him, and rode off into the sunset. I feel grateful I'm past those early days and understand the value of asking for my horse to connect with me and my ideas in natural and elegant ways. It makes everything we do, so much better.

Sometimes, I don't even ride, I just play with rewarding focus. In fact, often, when I ride, I use the task, not to get better footwork, but better focus work. It's like everything I used to do is now used to enhance the harmony and partnership rather than just be some selfish sunset ride for me.

Here's a few key lessons in garnering attention...

Feeding. How you feed, when you allow the horse to take the food you offer, matters. It's useful to ask for attention and respect first.
Leading. How you lead, positionally, matters. Allowing a horse to walk out like a frantic dog on a leash is not good for anyone. Instead, stop. Reconnect, reposition, and reset your togetherness every time they disconnect. It pays off in dividends, even when riding because riding requires the same focus.

Grooming. Grooming is not just about getting the dirt off, it's about bonding. It's about the horse learning to stand still and be calm, it's about patience. These same attributes carry over to riding too.

Imagine a horse that meets you at the gait leads into the barn with precision and patience, watching your every step, considerate of your need to pause or step to the side. Imagine a horse that patiently waits and even shows appreciation for the grooming you offer. That horse is a true partner and it's all based on...

Attention.

Thanks for reading, I appreciate your comments and I'll see you again soon, in our next newsletter. Don

Don Jessop - Blog Welcome

Hi! I'm Don Jessop

With Mastery Horsemanship

I write to inspire, educate and encourage you on your horse and personal journey.

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