A key to success - Russell Higgins
Some time towards the end of last century I made the decision to make horses my life and my livelihood and there began a journey that has lead me to learn and teach in 19 countries and start young horses on four continents. A lot of people know me for my Liberty or Bridleless ridding demonstrations but they are just a small part of a congruent approach to developing a horse into a safe, fun and functional partner. In my clinics I emphasise horse physiology and seeing life from the horses point of view.
Preparation is the key to success with horses. Horses already have the answers to every situation they could face but those answers are preprogrammed by Mother Nature and are based on evolution to enhance survival in the wild. Our domestic environment requires our horses to have different answers. For them to have those answers we need to teach them the responses before they need them. Often when I take a young horse for training I will do the first session or two in its paddock teaching responses and ensuring we have some of the communication we need before we leave the paddock. This approach means we are equipped to respond before putting ourselves in a situation where we might rely on that response.
So often the question is asked “What do I do when my horse does …………. (You can fill in the blanks)". The question I would like people to ask more is “how do I prepare my horse so that …………….. doesn’t happen” or “how do I prepare my horse to be able to do …….”.
While there is no exact formula or one size fits all approach that works with horses, learning to teach your horse what they need in a sequential order not only makes your experiences with your horse safer, but also improves your results.
What we teach people is to 'read your horse, read the situation and respond appropriately' so they can gain the connection needed to have that special horse we all appreciate and enjoy. I’m very much looking forward to sharing some of this at Equifest in November.