August 2, 2002, Newsletter Issue #84: Using The Natural Aids!

Tip of the Week

This week, we will discuss the eyes, ears and voice. The eyes direct the forward motion of the horse. Where your eyes travel, is usually where your horse will go. If you are unfocused, your horse will sense this by the un-focused direction of your eyes, and will either listen or allow him/herself to be distracted from your direction. The eyes really are paramount to the success of a working relationship with a horse, and probably affect the horse, more than any other natural aid. If you want specific results from your horse in a situation then you must keep your eyes focused constantly and in direct contact with your objects of the riding situation. Even if your voice is to conduct an outside conversation, will not have as much impact as your eyes focusing or not focusing on the desired work you expect from the horse.

The ears must be listening at all times for sounds that may or may not distract the horse from the working or relaxing situation. If you hear a sound that may affect your horse, address this sound, with the reasurrance of your own voice directly speaking to the horse with respect to the specific sound.

The voice is another very important natural aid, that most people use far too infrequently. A horse is included in the situation in which you are situated by the conversation from your voice. I make it a practise to constantly talk while I am schooling horses, and this helps and assists in keeping their focus, their attention to the work at hand, and helps to build comraderie with the horse in all of our situations together...in other words, I carry on a "banty of dialogue with the horse while I am asking of the horse in schooling situations."

Not very long after I begin working with a horse, they depend on this "conversation" to determine that I am pleased, I am focused on them and the work at hand that I am requesting that they do, and that the session is not forever, but only for a short duration of "quality time together". I have found this is the shortest and fastest path to teaching my horses, and It Works.

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