I was just posting a new video, entitled “A Smart Girl Correcting a Bucking Horse,” and was thinking what a big role tact plays in a rider’s success. When a horse begins to resist a rider, it’s not just what you do, but how you do it that will define the result. Trying to bully a horse into compliance never works—it only makes the horse more frustrated and fearful You have to remember that the animal is so much larger than us that it’s dangerous to have outright warfare with it. This doesn’t mean that you can’t be the boss; it’s just means that you have to be a benevolent dictator.
At horse shows, I often see riders schooling their horses in a frame for too long without a break. (A horse needs a break on a long rein about every five minutes, and the total time for working on the flat should be about 20 minutes.) The result of working too long without a break is that the animal becomes uncomfortable and frustrated, so it begins to resist the rider. Since the horse is resisting, the rider usually decides to work it even more! This is a vicious cycle, with the rider insisting that the horse improve, while the animal is unable to be compliant because it is so uncomfortable and is literally trying to pull the reins out of the rider’s hands or raise its head to get out of the uncomfortable position. If you horses becomes worse in the course of a workout, the problem is probably you!
In the video I mentioned above, the issue is not the frame of the horse, but rather the horse’s desire to buck, move sideways, switch leads, etc.—probably because it was feeling frisky and maybe because it was a little herdbound or green. What I loved was that the girl only did what she needed to do to get the horse back on track in its training. She didn’t jerk, kick, beat, or overwork the animal, but rather did what she had to do to get the horse moving forward safely. Whatever was causing the problem, she tactfully worked through it, and the horse is now a better-trained animal because of her. I think it’s a wonderful example of good riding and hope you’ll take the time to give it a look.
Talk to you later! — AJ