On my path I many times meet people who say that they have big problems with making their horses go forward. These people often tell that their horses are lazy, don’t cooperate, and don’t want to move.
Many times the feeling of having a horse that always “stays behind” is so overwhelming for these people, that they feel like having a big, heavy luggage on their chest even if they only think about asking their horse to walk, trot, or canter.
This feeling of tiredness and heaviness is a very good sign.
If you are really observant, it can give you a clue leading to the source of the problem, that hides in you. This heaviness that you may feel is nothing else than a tension. It is just a symptom that the true reason of lack of energetic movement forward of your horse lies in you and is expressed in your body and mind.
Tensions of the mind have their physical representations in the body, and the physical tensions of the body have their mental representations in the mind in forms of fear, anxiety, restlessness of the mind, or repetitive, unpleasant thoughts.
It is very natural to feel tiredness and effort whenever you try to physically overcome tension that is blocking you. You can experience it yourself now during the following experiment: It is enough that you will clench one fist now. Keep it really clenched, and try to use for that your whole energy. See how your fist is really closed, and really clenched. Good. And now try to mechanically open this clenched fist with the help of your other hand.
Hard? Tough job? Good!
Now you know how your horse feels when you tense asking him for the more forward movement.
You apply tension, you brace, in the same way as your fist was clenched, and at the same time you ask for forwardness and thoroughness that can be experienced only through relaxation.
And your horse has to show you this by pinching his hears, showing faces, smashing with the tail and most of all by refusing to move forward.
Even if you think that what you do is helping your horse, even if you think that if you will jump, make a movement with your shoulders or “support” the canter with the air closed in your lungs, this will have a contradictory effect to what you hope for. You will be, again like a person with a clenched fist that hopes to relax it by trying to open it with the help other hand. Doing so you can have only more and more tension, and more and more tiredness.
From my experience, given that the horse is healthy and that this health is expressed equally by his whole being (physical health, hooves, emotional condition, eagerness to live and explore possibilities of this life), there is no reason why the horse would not be energetic, willing and loving to move.
If your horse is physically healthy, but doesn’t move willingly, there is a reason for that. And this reason is NOT expressed by: too little training, too small obedience, or too shallow engagement.
This reason is to show you that something makes it uncomfortable for your horse to move, and this something, in most of the cases, is YOU.
From my experience, if the horse is healthy, but doesn’t move forward willingly, it means that (given that there is no medical condition that makes the movement uncomfortable) the horse is too tensed, too scared, or too shut-down to believe that he can take the initiative and show you something more.
Opening-up such a horse is greatly based on opening his owner.
The first step on this path is to understand how your tensions, fear, and anxiety connected with wanting your horse to move, is in fact, BLOCKING any possibility of forward movement of your horse.
When I teach my students I pay great attention to guiding them towards bigger and bigger Calmness and Body Awareness before we experience any forward movement together with their horses.
I am always AMAZED, no matter how many times I see it in the flesh, what a BIG DRAMATIC CHANGE in the engagement and level of energy horses start to show, when we remove obstacles that were blocking it before — our tensions.
Learn more about Anna’s approach:
B.A.S.E. Kick-Start Training: Online Workshop designed to guide you step by step to the shift of awareness from the Personalities to the Real You. Last edition this year starts on the 15th of September 2016.
JoinAnna: OneHorseLife Training Videos: Anna shows horses’ guidance that exists beyond the positive training methods. In the Articles that accompany videos Anna explains what and how horses want to teach us to expand our awareness, and how to change upon and profit from this guidance.
BodyMarc: Expand Your Awareness: A complete 11-Week Self Study Course with a Book and Video Set to connect with your body, and through the body with the Real Self. The best place to become a better rider, and a more aware person and to profit from the personal guidance from Anna and Pawel.
Anna Speaks about Liberty, Positive Reinforcement and expanding Awareness: