How paying the right kind of attention can change everything
It’s a problem, though, if my horse is paying attention to eating grass and I want to lead them to the arena or ride them down the trail. How do I get them to pay attention to what I want them to do?
These are three actions I teach to get things started.
If your horse is already eating grass, get them to move.
If you’re leading your horse, walk forward and ask your horse to go with you.
If you’re riding, use one rein to ask your horse to turn.
Those are only three of over ten different to-do’s I teach with horses that eat grass when you want them to do something else. Getting your horse to stop eating grass and get moving depends on many subtleties in the individual relationship between you and your horse.
Listening to your horse helps, and you probably already do this. But when your horse is saying “I want to eat grass,” and you can’t get them to do anything else, what’s a person to do?
It actually starts with paying a special kind of attention that goes two ways.
I don’t know about you, but when the teacher interrupted me daydreaming in class and said I wasn’t paying attention, I really didn’t like her very much. I know I was just a kid, but I thought she was kind of mean. So when a horse gets jerked away from the grass, I wonder if they feel like that, too.
It’s a big problem when a horse won’t stop eating grass when we want them to do something else. We need them to do things but we don’t want to be like the teacher, especially if it makes the horse not like us.
The difficulty with the teacher in that story is that they were paying attention to me in ways that totally disempowered me. It made me slouch at my desk and hang my head. What if I could pay attention to my horse in ways that empowered me?