Updated: Aug 16
I am discovering more and more how horses thrive when we are very predictable with them. Predictability builds confidence, consistency, trust and connection.
How can we become more predictable?
By following patterns.
Patterns in our own behaviour, routines, habits, the order in which we do things and the repetition of these patterns. The potential to create and follow patterns is endless, we could develop patterns in our energy, how we communicate, how we groom, trim and train our horses.
Imagine if at every step, our horses felt secure, confident, trusting and connected and understood what we were asking of them, because we'd asked it before in the exact same way, setting and order.
Patterns are also buildable, which means we can expand on them slowly, changing only one thing at a time, and repeating that, until the "new" thing seamlessly becomes part of the trusty predictability of our horsemanship.
Patterns have the potential to be of very high value to the horse, if they honour his true nature and take into account his level of training. The human factor is the most important part of a pattern (and all horse related activities!) The human will need to practice being in a present, calm, softly aware state while with the horse. If my patterns are good, but my energy is tense...I've lost a lot of the potential value of that pattern.
We can certainly practice negative patterns that will be detrimental the horse. For example we might have a habit of skipping hoof picking after a session, or a pattern might not be meeting the horse where he is right now. If I am practising a pattern that is causing tension, I need to adjust and rethink. Don't stick to the pattern for the sake of the pattern and to the detriment of the horse! Patterns must be flexible too, if I add something in and it is too much, I can remove it and start again. A pattern is a good one, if it is producing a calm, happy horse and a calm, happy human.
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All my best,
The Gift of The Horse