STOP and RELAX
– Always think about emotional tension first.
I often see people who are riding very tense horses, and they try to relax them by making them move even faster and busy with a series of exercises.
A physical tension is always a reflection of deep emotional tension. Relaxation of the horse through movement makes emotional tensions do not disappear, but descend deeper under the surface where they are still present, but are not as visible as they were before. That’s why so many horses “rear out of the blue” or “spook out of the blue” – cause they were taught to HIDE THEIR EMOTIONS by their riders addressing physical tension without thinking about emotional state of the horse. After some time, emotional knot hidden in your horse is so hard and big, that the only thing your horse can do to release this stress is to go crazy.
Making your horse’s feet move when he’s tense, doesn’t make him any more relaxed. By doing so, you only teach him new, tense movement patterns and you risk that the emotional tension will be transferred to all other exercises you do. Even to those exercises, during which your horse was not emotionally tensed before.
You literally destroy the good work you have done before.
From my experience the best way to relax your horse is to stop, and give him time.
This applies to riding in the woods or in the countryside as well. Stop your horse every few steps, totally relax yourself. Give yourself some time. See how soon your horse relaxes, pat him. And start again.