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Responding vs Reacting...

The herd grazing at Pippsway Classical Natural Horsemanship Wellington Somerset near Devon

Whilst I was riding today Pip decided to Hula hoop and get some exercise. As Bronson and I came round the corner of the ménage he looked at Pip and so did I. Over time this ‘looking’ turned into him veering away from her general direction on the corner. Pip gave me a few opportunities to see if I could figure out what I was doing wrong and then stepped in when it became clear I wasn't going to.

‘What are you doing when he does that?’ She asked. So I thought about it…..I honestly didn't know! Other than whatever I was doing it must be the wrong thing as the issue was getting worse. It turned out because he was looking at Pip, and so was I, my pelvis, shoulders and head were all pointing the wrong way and were actually making his movement away from her even more exaggerated!

So instead of looking at Pip I had to look where I was going, have my pelvis and shoulders in the correct alignment and to raise my inside rein to encourage him to lift his shoulder and not ‘fall in’. The next time round was an improvement and the following time he went into the corner beautifully. Had Pip not been able to bring what I was doing to my attention, I would have actually been teaching him to shy and that would eventually lead to napping!

So often as human beings when we ‘react’ to a situation we get it wrong. It's as if the right thing to do is counter intuitive. Instead we must respond. Assess what is happening and respond appropriately.

I left the ménage delighted to have learned such an important lesson and it was to stand me in very good stead!

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