Some people think that you might have to work on something very, very different in order to accomplish major improvements in a horse's behavior, but actually, paying attention to the the smallest, seemlingly most insignificant tasks can lay the foundation for improvement in all areas.
Honestly, most times when I begin to work with a new horse or horse and handler combo, I don't know what we are going to work on. I always ask the handler what they see as the issues that need improvement, but I'm being completely honest when I say that 99% of the time, my first sessions will not end up at all like the owner imagined.
I've reached a point in my career that I'm 100% comfortable with "being different" than other trainer or instructors. Actually, I've never had a problem with that label, and as I've gotten older, I see it as a very, very big compliment.
For example, I prefer for "my people" to wait until I get there before tacking up. In most cases the lesson or session begins way before the handler thinks that it has. My observations start with simply watching the horses attitude in the stall when we enter the barn and then the whole shooting match evolves as I watch the "herd dynamic" between the horse and his humans.
For today's post, I'm going to use a workout that I did with Amos. Amos is a 6 year old half Arabian gelding and I've known him since he was a foal. Amos has never been abused or neglected, but his handling and training haven't been consistent. His family are very experienced "horse folk" and they have been part of our "horse family" for over 15 years.
Amos with Jamie and Morgan<