Do you act differently with your horse indifferent spaces, do you behave in a certain way with certain expectations when in the field, and then different once on the yard? Do you have different reward systems when riding compared to when grooming and do you totally change when at a competition and feel others are watching?
This is a common problem, we behave in certain ways when in certain spaces, a totally human behaviour, you may act in one way at work, and differently at home, when around certain friends you may behave one way and then others cause you to do something differently.
Suddenly becoming really bothered by what you look like, or act like when in one situation, and not caring when in another.
So when we're with our horses this can also happen, our mind sections of different areas as different ways to behave and then this passes onto our horses but also our methods that we use to work with them.
This leaves our horses with mixed signals, for example, if you treat your horse lots when in the field, sit with them, fuss them etc and then when they come to the yard its all about 'doing' your horse gets less treats, less fuss and the small ques are missed.
This will leave the horse wanting to be in the field and negative about being caught because your energy, and the whole relationship changes.
Or maybe its when you ride, when you're on your own your expectations are very different to when people are around, or your focus switches from your horse to other people, maybe you're worried about being in their way, or what they may think, whatever it is this attention switch will be felt by your horse, the message will become confusing and the things you'd normally be aware of when on your own suddenly are missed.
When we start to look at these patterns we can start to make changes and help to make our actions, relationship and expectations balanced and consistent across the board.
Things to check to make this happen are
- Are you breathing slowly and deeply
- Are you thinking about your horse still or others?
- Are you still noticing the 'trys' your horse is giving and rewarding or has your expectations changed?
- Are the rewards still the same?
- Are you still having fun?
- And the hardest one is, is your horse still having fun? & if you untied him, would he still choose to be there?
By becoming aware of these big or small changes you may start to understand why your horse reacts in certain ways, why they may question you more at times, or feel reluctant at others, it will allow you to see the subtle nuances of your relationship and what your horse is seeing in you that you may not have been aware of before.