As I was writing my other post, Should I Stop or Ask for More, I thought I would write this post separately.
If you did not read the other post I will briefly explain. I wrote about my mare Tinsel. When I ride, I have a connection through the reins. It is easier to understand this by allowing people to feel the connection than writing about it. I went from a loose rein earlier on in my horsemanship to a connected rein.
When I learn something new, I often jump into it with my whole being. Then I will go back and forth with my old and new knowledge til I find a place that I feel suits me. I think this is okay, but we need to be able to adjust to the horse in front of us that day.
Here is sweet little Tinsel, who has had so much done incorrectly to her body. I have done groundwork to help her release and re-balance. This has been very challenging. She is a horse who feels claustrophobic at the slightest amount of pressure. When she feels this way her response is to bolt back.
When we went to look at her the guy had taken off her bridle and in the process, she bolted back and took off running down the road with her saddle still on. And yes I obviously still bought her. This is how extreme her reaction to feeling contained was.
We did a lot of groundwork with her to release her head and neck. When riding though she would still throw her head up, drop her back and you felt like you didn't have a horse under you. I was doing walk/trot transitions one day. Like I said, I ride with a connection. Every transition, she would bring that head up. I did something entirely different. I kept a completely loose rein and asked her to trot. Bingo! Head down, trotting forward. This is a horse that desperately needs to feel a connection because she is so disconnected. The difference is, is that I cannot go about giving her connection in the same way that I do with other horses.
I had to do a lot of things differently with her. She has taught me more than any horse the power of feel. She is so sensitive that she has made me more sensitive in my approach. Don't confuse sensitive with being cautious. If you are cautious with her, she takes that as worry. You need to be confident, focused, and have a great deal of feel with a horse like her. Trust me. I am working on those things every single day.
Learning is wonderful. I learn every single day. We are working with living, breathing, highly attuned to their environment beings. What works for one may not work for another. Continue to grow. Continue to learn. Do not get stuck in doing things one way. Do what works for you and that horse in that moment.