The Basics

When we run into problems with our training we fall back to how good our foundation is.

When we run into difficulty our mind doesn’t help us. Usually it does the opposite and zones out. We forget to think and we forget to breath. Our horses are left hanging there by themselves trying to figure out what it is that we are asking of them. They will revert back to what they know best, or like to do best. If our training foundation is strong that can be good treat manners, standing quietly and waiting. If it isn’t they may revert to mugging and looking for treats.

We were asking them to do something, that must mean we meant to feed them, right?

They can also fall back on dangerous behaviors like nipping, running through us, or running off. With most horses the reversion wont be anything dramatic and dangerous, that still doesn’t mean that we want to go there.

By practicing the foundation behaviors over and over again until they are etched into our muscle memory we will automatically revert to them when we run into training trouble. We should reach the point where we automatically ask for, wait for, head forward before clicking and before asking for a trick. We should look for clickable behaviors without having to think about it all while remembering to breath.

Working on the ground, playing with our horses and tricks isn’t likely to be a life or death situation. What we practice in one area will transfer to any other area of work we do. By drilling those basics with our trick training we will remind ourselves to practice basics in all other aspects of our training. You never know, when a good foundation could save you.


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