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Success Is Easy

Horse Training Tips and Techniques, Helpful Hints for Health Care;
Plus Business Advice on Making Your Career With Horses a Financial Success

By Don Blazer
        Less is more, or so they say.

        In this case, make sure you are only asking your horse for a very small degree of understanding as you teach a new maneuver.  By doing so you'll assure your success, and speed up the horse's learning.

        Horses want to be comfortable.  In teaching a horse a new maneuver or body position, we make the horse a little uncomfortable at what he is doing, (walking along in a straight line) and we make him comfortable again when he responds in any degree to our request for a different movement.

        For example, you want your horse to learn to move his hip over.  You make him a little uncomfortable by applying leg pressure back from the girth.  If he doesn't respond you add a bit more pressure or some bumps from your heel.  The instant the horse moves his hip the slightest amount, you release the pressure and praise the horse.  Releasing the pressure makes him comfortable, and the praise reinforces his hip movement away from the pressure.

       Don't ask for more.  Set your goals so low that there can be no failure.  A little movement in the correct direction is all that is required.

       Ask the horse often enough, and give him praise for his correct response (no matter how small) and soon the horse makes a habit of responding correctly to the hip over cue.  A lot of very small successes will soon be a superior training result.

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