The Not-So-Scientific Horse Training Challenge_Personal Space

موقع أيام نيوز

If you have spent any time trying to train horses to accomplish physical goals like moving more athletically chances are good you have discovered that some individuals are more willing than others. Much as I would like to offer sciencebased explanations for this I believe a lot of it owes to a less scientific trait that well call personal space.
During recent clinic observations I heard author and trainer Mary Wanless use this term to refer to a horse that was tickly in his back muscles. This made it difficult for his rider to help him travel with his back consistently engaged. The horse would offer a few quality steps followed by several unbalanced ones. His rider worked hard at getting the position of her seat and legs just right to influence him because generally the better we improve our cues the better our horses respond. Occasionally though as in the case of this horse that equation isnt failproof. As this rider sat deeper into the saddle the horse canted his body in ways to avoid her influence. In other words he didnt want her in his personal space.



So was this particular horse being difficult? Was he confused? Or maybe even uncomfortable? In my daily life teaching horses to use their bodies more optimally I often encounter their unique personal spaces as either an impediment or accelerant to what Im trying to do. I define personal space here as an individuals guardedness against contact or stimulation to his physical body.
Depending on temperament and past training or injuries some horses have a much stronger sense of this. With these horses training progress is often not linear. It requires more time and finesse. It can seem repetitive or frustrating to a rider who asks herself Why is my horse not doing X today??