Spin Off: Light Bulb Moments
In honor of ezduzit's posts about her epiphanies with her horse, I figured I'd start a spin off -- what's the best light bulb moment you've had where things slid nicely into place for you and your horse? What got you to that point? How was it resolved? Any additional words of wisdom that came from the experience?
My biggest moment recently is consciously being patient and giving my boy a chance to process my request/things around him instead of just demanding things now now now! He's a lot more laid back and A LOT calmer if I give him that minute to figure it out and get on my page. Occasionally I'd have leading issues where I'd have to resort to smacking him with the end of the lead rope to get him to move. Now if it occurs (which is a lot less), I just keep a steady pressure forward on the lead rope. I give him instant slack if he gives in the least, even if it's just to move his head forward. The next bit of pressure usually has him stepping off again with a sigh and a lowered head. It's worked absolute wonders with leading him back outside when it's dark out -- as long as I give him his 30 seconds or so of time to let his eyes adjust to the new light conditions, he's a gem for the whole walk in the dark. Before he'd get crow hoppy/scared if I drove him to walk which made me nervous that he'd level me in the dark.
In the saddle he's been a lot less lookie-loo or when he is, all it takes is a wiggle on the rein and he's focus is back on where we're going/what we're doing. Before, he'd fixate on something and it was hard as hell to get him back to "global awareness" before something would spook him.
Allowing him to get with me instead of forcing him to get with me has fixed a few of our issues...now if I could just get him to stop being a wiggle worm in the cross ties.