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This topic focuses on techniques used to prepare a horse to accept the handler, rider or owner as leader. Every clinician has slightly different techniques to accomplish this objective. When a person studies their different viewpoints and perspectives, similar objectives emerge. They are all working toward the same goal: establishing leadership through the horses natural herd instinct.
My mare Plenty is a good example. She was
ridden as a 3-5 year old mainly in a shank bit. During that period
she was cooperative, but I wasnt getting the feel in her
face and body. So I started over. I replaced the shank bit with
the previously used snaffle and began to review initial suppling
skills with her. In the process it became essential that I learn
the ground skills necessary to become the leader. To learn, I
watched, listened and practiced the skills I observed being taught
One clinician might teach a group of games,
another analyzes every step, another seems to present it as magic,
another speaks as though on the inside with all the others. Finally,
someone breaks it down to very simple skills, actually telling
you how to teach them. He gives specific examples of problems
you may encounter and how to fix them. This final clinician fits
my style because he keeps it simple.
In my case, I combined a variety of strategies
from several different clinicians. It paid off dramatically.
The areas of my greatest growth were suppling, groundwork and
slow hands. As these areas began to show degrees of accomplishment,
I began to recognize an almost frightening consequence. Plenty
had decided to trust me as leader. That was trust. She had placed
a huge responsibility upon me because, if I didnt protect
that trust, she would close the door. She basically had said,
Okay, you are the leader, so be fair and keep it simple.
If you dont, I wont follow.
It took about eight months for Plentys
change to be obvious. She was ridden an average of four days
per week. I rode her everyday when I was home.