WHAT’S THE SECRET TO SUCCESSFUL TRAINING?????
I was recently asked for our most recent magazine article for my top training tip. I hesitated because there were so many things that popped into my head, but I couldn’t pull out one that didn’t work without others in alignment. After I went away and returned to our most recent handover sessions, I realized there was something, but it wasn’t a technical exercise or a specific movement.
Possibly the number one question I’m asked, I’d imagine horsemen and women over the years and through the ages have also been asked this many many times…
What’s the one piece of training advice you’d give?
What’s the key?
What’s the secret ingredient?
This is just my take on the question, I think many others might agree, but…I don’t think it’s a secret. I think it’s something many of us who work with our horses know, something that we’re very aware of but might not be able to come to terms with just how effective one quality might be.
PATIENCE! …I can see the some of the eye rolls but hear me out!
It’s not as vague as it might sound. I’m not talking in general (though I also recommend that too…), I mean before an exercise, after an exercise, during an exercise.
Processing time can be a game changer, seriously. I don’t know that my friends or family would describe me as the most patient or relaxed person… BUT I find it from somewhere during my work and training. When I have 8 more horses to work, when it’s wet and cold, when I’m running late for an appointment, when I’m tired…I wait. Because now I know, it gives me the best outcome LONG TERM! All the technical skill in the world won't help if your horse isn't able to absorb the information or figure out the exact answer. If I wait now there’s a chance I won’t have to come back to the same thing repeatedly, a chance we can keep progressing and a chance I won’t meet resistance when I ask for the next thing.
Think of it of it as supercharging your horse's learning! You're using the same technique or skill, only less refinements are needed SO less work on everyone's part! Your horse also feels good/more relaxed when they find the answer and so is more willing to go back there. There's something to be said for going slower to get there quicker!
So here’s my top tip, WAIT LONGER THAN YOU WANT TO. When you’re not quite getting the result or response you want, when you do the imaginary eyeroll, when you check your watch, when you feel your frustration building, when you think about applying more pressure, apply the ‘5 more minute’ rule and wait a little longer. Remind yourself this is for the benefits LONG TERM, not just right now. Patiently. Breathe out. I promise it will be worth it.
Happy Horsing! Katrina ~ Cadence Horse Training
CADENCE HORSE TRAINING
Striving to maintain an encouraging and inclusive culture among fellow equestrians. We're passionate about all things equine including behaviour, biomechanics, training and horsemanship!