Getting a Horse Present and Connected to Overcome Resistance

Last week I gave a lesson to a student of mine, Stephanie, who has a Welsh Cobmare that she has been driving and riding. The horse is very fearful and so shehad started doing the Uberstreichen Exercises and working on getting hercomfortable in her territory.

The problem I noticed with this mare was that although she was doing well withthe Waterhole Rituals™, when she was brought to the barn, she did not want tohave the bridle put on her. She was acting sort of wild and frightened, so Iasked how long this had been going on. Stephanie said it had been like this for along time. I told her that we had to get the horse comfortable with beingpresent right there and right then, and to get her to agree to the fact that shelikes being at the barn before we even attempt to put on the bridle.

So I took the horse and I asked her to stand still on one spot. Now, what peopleoften fail to understand is how definite I am about where I want the horse tostand. I’m not talking about standing in the general vicinity of a spot, I’m talkingabout standing on the exact spot that you have chosen. So much so in fact, thatif the horse steps off a quarter of an inch, you make her pick up her foot andput it back on the exact same spot.

Well, we did that with this mare once and it changed the whole performance.The next day Stephanie called me and said, “I can’t believe how that horse haschanged!” She told me that she took her out of her paddock, brought her up tothe barn and was very clear about having her stand on one spot. Then after awhile, she was able to put on the bridle with no trouble whatsoever. The horsewasn’t concerned about being at the barn and did not shy like she used to,because Stephanie was able to get the horse to become present and connectedin one place and in the moment.

Try this for yourself if you are experiencing similar challenges, with or withoutyour horse.


Carolyn Resnick

Horse Training from the Ground Up

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Comment by Deborah Hopkins on December 29, 2010 at 1:14pm

wow Carolyn! I tried this with the mare I co-board. She has a tendency to move around in the cross ties and I sense she is nervous when other horses leave and we are left alone in the aisle. Two rides ago I stopped whatever I was doing every time she moved and put her back in her spot. I did it kindly but firmly as if we had all the time in the world. Then, when I was with her next time she was perfect in the cross ties!! 

She also tends to me fussy when I put on her bridle, so I took her face in my hands and held her there softly.

She was much better after that!

Thank you the the helpful tip :)

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