The Olympics of Everything
I am really getting into these masterclasses presented by Noelle Floyd. And I really enjoyed the first masterclass with Tik Maynard. The one big takeaway I learned was being the best at even the smallest things. ‘The Olympics of everything’ is what he says. And with this second Masterclass, I had a couple of my own mini milestones with Tik Maynard. Which made me very excited to see there was a second Masterclass put on by Tik.
His first class was understanding behavior of horses, and now his second class builds on understanding horse behavior and solving common training problems. And let me tell you, I need this.
So I thought I would work through one of the lessons and share with you what I learned.
In my opinion, pushy lazy horses are just as bad as spooky and flighty horses. And I can say that because I have owned my fair share of both.
Learning how to manage a pushy horse is a problem for me. Because even though Frisby is generally easy to get along with, he can be very pushy. He walks around when he is tied, he pushes into my space. And when he decides to be done with whatever it is I am working on with him, he gets really pushy.
I never realized how pushy he was until I got Plezant. And Plezant is living up to his name. He really is pleasant to be around and is not pushy at all. In fact, when he is being ultra nice I make sure to tell him how pleasant he is being!
So for me, being able to get through Frisby’s pushiness was my main focus for this class. Even though I am not riding him, I still want him to be respectful from the ground. It just makes my time with him more enjoyable when I’m not in a battle with him.
Correcting A Learned Habit
Frisby has learned that he can move me. This is something I have allowed to become a bad habit over time. I know it is. Because I have allowed him to get into my personal space, and I haven’t corrected it. He has learned a habit that can be very annoying and frustrating at times.
The most important thing I need to do is to correct this habit. I have to remember to catch myself when I allow this to happen. This isn’t something hard to do, I just have to do it. And the more I do it, the habit will be established, and hopefully I will get Frisby to be more respectful of my personal space.
The best exercise to do this is to teach Frisby is to back up out of my space.
As Tik always says in his Masterclasses, it’s the Olympics of everything. Meaning I want to get a gold medal in the process of getting Frisby to stay out of my personal space.
Building Respect Through Backing
It’s all about energy, pressure and release. And this can be challenging, especially if you are trying to be consistent, and quiet. And in order to do this, you have to be able to increase your energy level quickly, but then when your horse does the right thing, release the pressure (relax) immediately when he does that right thing you asked him to do.
Bringing up your energy in a calm and focused way, and then letting go of that energy when he does what you ask is really important when you are working on establishing a new habit with your horse.
And this can be carried into the back up. The back up is important because teaching your horse to back up out of your space, and then releasing the pressure when he does will create this new habit.
The better you can get your horse to back up, the more respectful and responsive he’ll be in everything that he does. Which means less pushy behavior because we are teaching him to be respectful of our space. Backing up is a sign of respect, so this is the foundation of building respect.
The Easiest Method to Backing Up
I am a huge fan of Clinton Anderson. Which I think is why I have become such a big fan of Tik Maynard. He uses a lot of the same principles that Clinton does.
Tapping The Air
The goal is to get the horse to move away from the pressure that is in front of him. To get started you will need a couple of tools if you have them. A knotted rope halter, a 14 foot lead rope, and a clinician style stick and string. You will also need some duct tape. I wrote a complete blog post about these tools, which you can read here.
And what you are going to do is measure the lead rope about 4 feet, and then put a piece of duct tape around your lead rope at this point.
An easy way to do this is to take your stick and put one end up to the snap, and then stretch out the rope. At the end of the stick this is where you will put the tape. Then this will give you a reminder of where you should be putting your hand. It doesn’t have to be exact, but it gives you a reference point of where to stand.
Pressure and Release
Now we want to create pressure from in front of the horse to get him to back away from the pressure. You start with a little bit of pressure, and increase the level of pressure to get the response we are looking for. Which in this case is to back up.
You start with tapping the air, if no response you tap the rope. If there is still no response you whack the rope. If you have to get to the point where you have to whack the rope with your stick, I am very confident your horse will back up away from that pressure. And then you just keep working with him until you get the desired response from the smallest amount of pressure.
Then once he does what we have asked, which is backing up, then we remove the pressure, and then rub his head with the stick.
And this exercise will take some practice. It can’t be done in one try. However, with practice and repetition, your horse will get used to backing up at of your space, and in turn, be more respectful.
Consistency is Key
But this isn’t a one time deal. You have to be consistent with your training and teaching in order for your horse to improve. (I am basically telling this to myself) The more consistent you are with him, the better he will become.
And the better he becomes, the more you will want to work with him. See how that works? So for Frisby and I, every time I take him out of his paddock, we work on backing up. At first its just a few steps, and those few steps turn into 10, then 20, and so on.
And like I said, this will not happen in one session. It will take many sessions. But you can do it on a daily basis. You can do it while you are leading him to the pasture. Or when bringing him back in from the pasture. You just have to put in the effort. Be consistent and you will see results.
Mini Milestones With Tik Maynard
Ok, I thought I was going to be able to talk a lot more about the other things that I learned with Tik’s second Masterclass. But for me, this exercise was very helpful for getting some respect back from Frisby. And this was just one exercise. I did incorporate some of Clinton Anderson too. But that’s the great thing about learning from different people, you can combine your learning! And by combining what I have learned, I am getting the results I desire.
If you are anything like me, you look for the little victories you have with your horse. And when those little victories happen, it really helps to build your confidence. I think that is my favorite thing I have been learning from all the Masterclasses I have watched so far. Mini milestones, get it?!?!?
For me, as an amateur, older rider, I am not looking for things that will make me stand out in the show ring, or move me up to the Grand Prix level. I am looking for education that will help me to enjoy the time that I have with my horses. Because in the real adult world, it’s good to have an escape in order to have something you look forward too. And that’s what my horses provide for me.
And I am really excited because Noelle Floyd has just released a new Masterclass! I have my notebook and pen ready, and I can’t wait to get learning!
How about you? Have you checked out the Masterclass Membership over at Noelle Floyd? If you haven’t checked it out yet, it really is worth it! For less than the cost of a riding lesson, you can sign up for a month and check out all the Masterclasses they have released.
They have been releasing a new class about every month right now, and it has been so helpful for me, as well as my horses. I have gotten so much out of this membership. My confidence is improving, and I am finding so much joy in being with my horses. If you have been searching for that too, I really think this would be a great tool for you.
No matter what you chose to do, I hope you find your joy with your horse, and continue to move forward and improve to be the best horseman (or woman) you can be!