Wordpress U is challenging me to become a better writer as well as a better blogger by being an active member in my blogging community. I now take time to read my fellow bloggers posts, leave comments or likes, and even find a little insperation in their writing. I really enjoy the writing of Tyler Kleese Horsemanship, his introspective voice can be applied to life and horsemanship alike.
His latest post Patch Job Junkies focuses on the importance of forming a foundation instead of relying on the quick fix when training horses, because the patch inevitably wears off but a solid foundation will last. I wholeheartedly trust in foundation work. It's the first step I take when working with a new rescue. Often these horses have had multiple owners, all with their own style of training, all asking the horse for something different. It is essential to do foundation work in order to establish a common language with the horse. When the horse understands what you want from them they trust you when you ask for something new. It can be easy to try and rush this process, I'm just as guilty for placing my expectations on a horse which only causes frustration on both sides. It's never a bad idea to take this work as slow as the horse needs and return to this work when communication starts to break down.
Mini goals are an excellet way to keep the pace of your work and your expectations realistic. In a recent post from HippoLogic, it spoke about breaking down your ultimate goal into smaller steps in order to not overwhelm yourself and the horse. Recently I took RD, our newest rescue, out on trail with the goal of a calm and slow paced ride. All was going as planned until we turned for the trailer and the patch from the previous owner fell off. RD became impatient, flighty, and hard to handle. He couldn't undertand why I asked him to slow down when his last owner always asked him for full tilt boogie. My goal was too big for RD. So we returned to the round pen for foundation work and taking everything slow. These are my mini goals with this horse. Goal one, lunge in a slow comfortable pace. Eventually we will get to the arenea where we move in a slow comfortable pace. Then when that goal is met we will return to our ultimate goal, trail riding at a slow comfortable pace.
Both articles referred to this method as giving yourself a head start or 'getting ahead and staying ahead.' If you have a strong foundation method, when all hell breaks loose, you and your horse have a common place to come back too. This happens often with Cash, my typical spook at a plastic bag throughbred. We have worked together for years on his perpencity to shy at a shadow. So for the days when he balks at a rock on the path, my hands drop low and my legs urge forward. This is his cue to trust me, this is our common languge, without it he would he become obsessive about the rock and revert to all his bad habits. Instead we are ahead game, so if something truly harmful slithers onto our path, Cash will trust me to get us past this too.
When reading other writers work it makes me a better writer and horseman. I have added a 'blogs I follow' widget on my blog if you would like to visit some of my favorite bloggers.