Remember the confidence…

Remember the confidence…

Who does not like to do things right? To succeed and be praised? I believe we all do, and so do our horses. That is a lovely quality, but also something to be aware of in specific situations and have in mind. My latest experience was very unmistakeable and considered Torrin…

Last night I introduced Torrin to the moving of the hindquarter by a signal from the whip. What I wished for him to do was to move his hind leg one step away when I tapped him. He understood absolutely nothing of my intentions and he got so confused and frustrated within a very short time. In contrast to Alvaro he doesn’t shut down mentally and become quiet when he doesn’t understand, he simply gets defiant and walks away – leaving his problems behind.

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Of course walking away is not very useful when training horses, while this strategy causes him to stop thinking and starting to react instead by just leaving whatever is difficult. I would much rather see ham staying with my and try to solve the problem…

My point is that it was clear to him that he wasn’t very strong in this exercise and that sucked the energy and happiness out of him. He didn’t feel good about himself. I praised him every time he did the slighest thing right, but that simply wasn’t enough for him. He lost his courage and motivation. At this point he started taking things into his own hands. He indicated by scraping and asked me if he could lie down to which I accepted. He immediately changed his mood when he got down and he lied down for a really long time. He looked proud, confident and satisfied once again because he knew that he did right…

The great lesson from this episode was that we should NEVER forget to let our horses do exercises the are good at – especially not when we are trying to introduce something new. Torrin was smart and asked me to do something in which he is confident and understands, so he could get back his confidence. Sadly not all horses will be brave enough to ask for another exercise when they feel bad about themselves. Therefore we need to learn when it is time to cheer up our horses during an introduction to something new or just in general.

Torrin stopped trying, and I actually understand him… I mean. Would you keep trying if you felt like doing the wrong thing every time? I suppose if you wouldn’t  your horse probably feels the same way.

We need to remember their confidence. They need to have confidence. Without confidence no one will have the courage to attempt on doing right, and it is our job to support confidence in our horses. We need to make sure that they have confidence to give it a try.

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4 thoughts on “Remember the confidence…”

  • Truly i think you are my biggest inspiration! I’m sad to say that my confidense and knowledge around and about horses are over shoadowed with fear. I’m trying hard to overcome my issues but it feels like I have a long way to go. It brings me such pleasure to look at your amazing photos and to read about the work you and your beautiful horses do together! Even though i’m 10 years older than you and there for (it feels like) i’ve lost so many years, i still hope i get the honor of calling me a true friend to a horse of my own without feeling afraid ir insecure. Thank you for being so wonderful!

    • Hi Sofia. First of all I want to thank you for all of your kind words. It is a blessing to be able to communicate with so many amazing people all over the world, and to inspire as well as creating hope. It is never to late to follow your dream, and I am certain that you will succeed with being a friend to a horse. As long as your heart is with you in what you do and you trust yourself! Horses are such loving animals and you can never fail them with love. Don’t be afraid. Your heart will show you the way and so will your horse <3

  • I am reading through all your posts right now with tears in my eyes!
    How many things and signs have I not seen in my horse… I always expected him to know what I wanted from him (backing up for example) he started to scrape and almost dig into the ground almost angrily. I didn’t accept that behavior because I wanted him to do something else and I thought he was just being unwilling and stubborn. He was such a great horse throughout his life (he is with me for 17 years now) and went from an almost unridable, stubborn, dangerously head-strong horse to a trustworthy companion. Yet out relationship lacks the special something that makes me believe that he enjoys being with me. I admire you for your patience and the strength to pull through “bad days”. To lower your expectations. I come from a traditional stable where the common opinion is, that a horse should “obey” and “function” and if it doesn’t, it is not a good horse. I have changed my point of view very much when Sindbad came into my life. He has been called “life-endangering” by a so called “trust trainer”, who gave up on us after he reared up and tried to hit her with his front hoofs. Many things have happened since then, I have not sold him, I have not given up. He allows children to ride him. He is 100% trust when you take him for a ride around the fields and forests. He does his best to please you in the arena. But he avoids me and he is not there for “me” or because we do not have a connection. He does what he is asked. I try to be understanding and let him have his peace and days off and be patient, but it is hard.. oh so hard..
    I would love to remain in touch with you, Sophie. You are my inspiration and – yes, I repeat myself – am very happy that I found you on Instagram.
    Thank you for being you, thank you for giving your horses so much respect and thank you for shaking me awake to try to make things better and work on a different level with my horse. Tack!

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