One of the main reasons of why horses misbehave (given that the horse is healthy) is confronting a horse with a new situation that creates stress. When a horse faces unknown situation, his natural response is to flight or fight. From the outside such a reaction looks like “misbehaving”. A human has an idea of how the horse SHOULD react, and when the horse is reacting differently, it is seen as “disobedience”. It cannot be disobedience, if the horse doesn’t know the situation.
(Not knowing the situation also means that he horse refuses to, for example, step into the puddle or load to the trailer for the 100000x time – it only means that for him it is still UNKNOWN situation”.
Traditional training of horses is about exposing them and teaching that whenever the horse doesn’t know what to do, he has to SUBMIT TO THE HUMAN.
Such approach means that the horse will be even more stressed when something new is happening, because he has no choice. IT LOOKS LIKE IT CALMS THE HORSE, BUT IN FACT IT CALMS THE PERSON. Calming of the horse is secondary.
Training based on flexibility is teaching your horse to be even more relaxed when something new and unexpected is happening. It is also about teaching your horse to be more relaxed when you ask your horse to do something that he doesn’t fancy doing: trimming of the hooves, visit of the vet, trotting on the vet-check, etc. When your horse knows how to relax in such situations, he can stay Calm and decide to stay with you, and do what is the best for the both of you.
After such a training, your horse will be able to stay relaxed and OPEN to you and all new possibilities, regardless of what is happening – new or old, whether he likes it or not.
You can both support each other, and be friends.
You have to teach horses to be flexible, because we never know what happens next.