Intuition is the first of three principles of horsemanship that I use and teach. Those principles are: Intuition, control, trust. These principles of horsemanship are so old that most folks have long forgotten about them and they have become new again. In practical horsemanship, these three principles depend on one another and build on each other as we and our horses progress in, not only their training, but in our training as well. Horses are so very Intuitive!
Intuition is probably the hardest to teach because it takes time to develop the understanding of intuition. So, in the course of our learning, we start to use intuitive aid to get our horse to respond. If our horse does not respond we will then use controlling aids. Controlling aids are like, for example: When we want our horse to turn to the left we look to the left, turn our upper body to the left and our horse moves to the left, intuitive aids. If our horse did not move, or turn to the left, we would use a controlling aid, say, lifting our rein or, pulling on our direct rein while applying pressure with our out side leg. And we would use what ever amount of control we needed to get the job done. But as soon as the horse responded we would relax those aids and go back to intuitive aids.
What we want is our horse to have the chance to respond to intuitive aids, FIRST. If we always pull our horses heads in whatever direction we want to go, we will always have to pull on his head. But if we teach him with intuitive aids, that every time I turn my head to make a turn, and you sense the intuitive aids, and turn, I won't have to use controlling aids, and pull on your mouth. You won't believe how quickly your horse will respond. To teach with intuitive aids you must break your aids up into completely separated movements. For example, lets use our turn again. I use three separate siginals, in just about everything, to get a horse to understand what I want. First I look in the direction I want to go, second I turn my upper body, which does a ton of stuff to my hips and legs and feet, without me having to think about all those things, and then third, if my horse does not pick up on these intuitive aids I will help him with my hands, controlling aids, to get the point across. If you are consistent with the use of these aids, it wont' be long until your horse learns the intuitive aids and will want to avoid the controlling ones. Eventually I want the intuitive aids to be so slight that if you were watching from the rail you would be asking yourself. How does the horse know when to turn? But more importantly, it is so much easier for the horse if he learns these intuitive aids. He will enjoy the time that I am with him rather then think every time I come to the barn. This guy is back, the one that is always holding on, keeping his balance by using the reins to hang on to my mouth, always controlling. I'm out of here.
This is much easier then it sounds, but it's harder to explain then it is to show.
I will talk more about this principle, intuition and the other two principles as we go on, control and trust. But first, coffee
Will try and keep you updated with info on what the heck I'm doing with horses and music.