A common principle that many humans frequently display has to do with mass hysteria. There have been lots of experiments done to prove the validity of mass hysteria. Mass hysteria happens when a whole group of people do the same thing. For instance, years ago there was a radio broadcast that was only a fictional story. It was about UFO’s invading earth and was called ‘The War of the Worlds.’ Unfortunately, many listeners thought it was real. Very quickly, mass hysteria set in and nearly everyone thought earth was being invaded. It’s easy to laugh now, but back then it seemed real. Why did it seem so real? Because people assumed they were being told what was ‘really’ happening. We’re often a gullible species.
It seems that many times we’re told things and we somehow adopt it as a belief. Not always, but it happens more than we care to admit. But what about horses? As you know, horses cannot reason like a human can. Yet even though we can reason, we can still believe something that’s not real. But the horse doesn’t reason one way or the other. They take signals from you and adopt the belief as if it is real. Your attitude is essential while riding (and training) because your horse can easily sense it. If you know your horse is tense and tight-muscled, you must be calm. Why? Because it will transfer to your horse. Remember I just said your horse can sense your attitude. The attitude you want him sensing is calmness, (among others). Since you’re the leader, he looks to you to see how he should react. If you’re upset, tense, unrelaxed… your horse will know it and it will soon become hard for him to relax.
Anyway, if you fret that he’ll test your control over him, he’ll be harder to calm. Why? Because he senses the worry and worry translates into threat and thus fear. If you’re on a horse that jigs around, prances, and can’t be still because he’s anxious, the first thing to do is relax. The body language will be felt by your horse. He’ll feel the difference between you being stiff and tense versus limp and relaxed. So, picture your horse listening to the Beach Boys and picking up good vibrations. Don’t communicate tension – instead communicate calm and cool.
Andy Curry is the owner of HorseTrainingResources.com.