“Hi Stacy, my horse is two years old and I’m working on training her myself, so the Begin teaching complex thoughts to the horse during groundwork for better results in the future. Stacy WestfallJac series is wonderful!!! Thank you! I was wondering, why do you do this exercise? (Episode 14) What’s the reason for training the horse to go to a target? I’m not sure I exactly understand what you’re doing with this exercise.” -Kailey B.

Kailey,

When I am training the horse I have a plan for the future. In the future I want the horse to understand thoughts that are complex (neck reining, negotiating tough trails, etc). I want the horse to think his way through things that I present him with. I want him to trust my leadership but also to participate.

I would compare this to working with a child. When I am teaching a five or six year old child I want them to participate in the process. I will give the child choices instead of forcing them; do you want to pick up your toys or lay in your bed for an hour? Would you rather clean your room and then play your Gameboy or skip cleaning and skip the games for today?

I want the child to think and I want the horse to think.

Some of these exercises, like going to the ball, seem ‘useless’ but in the future can be used to load into a trailer. The technique is the same.

And…there really are no bad side effects. So give it a try and see if the communication with your horses improves.