Sunday, 7 August 2011

Timing and Intensity

Timing is everything when communicating effectively with your horse. Catching a horse in the moment he makes a decision with reward or pressure identifies that particular decision as right or wrong. Pressure delivered a second too late allows him to get by with a wrong answer. A reward given too late, discourages him from getting the right answer. Blocking the wrong choice and giving relief for the right choice is the way of an effective trainer.

Intensity of the cue is delivering just the appropriate amount of pressure to motivate a horse – no more and no less.

Blowups at the horse show occur when we get this timing and intensity thing wrong. Distractions, navigating through a crowded warm up ring or rail class, cause us to be too late in our cues. Anticipation causes us to jump the gun by moving too quickly, surprising our horses with our aids.

Show nerves result in mumbling, mousy aids that the horse ignores. Anger and embarrassment lead to jerking and kicking akin to using a megaphone in library….overkill.

Isn’t timing and intensity the key in human relationships, too?

Age old wisdom from the Bible tells us “He who restrains his words has knowledge,
And he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding.” Proverbs 17:27

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