Sheesh! Those egos are tough. And tougher still is an ego incognito!
One of the tenets of horsemanship that I espouse (choose and follow; as of theories, ideas, policies, strategies or plans) is to set up a situation to allow the horse to come to a conclusion that I would like, and wait. Fix it up and wait. Now, I’m going to add that fixing it up and waiting doesn’t mean the feet are necessarily still. It’s possible, likely and common to set up a situation that includes movement.
But boy Howdy, what if that very concept turned into an ego problem?
What if we set our minds to waiting in the proper position and we’re waiting and waiting and the horse is NOT responding appropriately. And we’re going to stick with it. And the horse is going to stick with it. And we’re going to stick with it. And the horse is GOING TO stick with NOT doing what you want. And you’re going to wait because YOU will WIN if you don’t give up.
This is the situation I found myself in the other day with Howdy. A mostly untrained 11 year old QH with a penchant for shutting down and using her considerable weight to brace, drag ya, shove the shoulder, run or run over you and be generally obstinate for no particular good reason (yes, I know that’s the human version, but really, just walking or trotting nicely?)
At what point do we decide that maybe we should do something different? At what point do we ask – what are the other options? Is the horse learning? Or learning not to? If we change and it works, does that mean we won or do we lose because the horse challenged us to change and we did? Well, it worked so… I’m not suggesting that we change by no longer using the fix it up and wait approach, because I think it’s a terribly important concept. But, while we’re waiting, we can come up with what options we have either at our disposal or that we can build new from our resource box of tools for when the time comes that we decide there may be a better technique to use at this particular time.