All of us at CT talk about relaxation a LOT, but what does that actually look like when you’re training a horse? This video shows exactly what we mean by relaxation, why it boosts the connection between you and why you’re always reinforcing emotions as well as behaviours.
This emphasis on relaxation is one of the cornerstones of Connection Training, right from the very first session. In fact, even before that – the way we manage horses and set up the training sessions are all designed to help horses feel relaxed, confident and at ease. Our Foundation Course is centred on teaching your horse to be a great problem-solver and enjoy the process, while feeling relaxed, confident and connected to you. We build everything onto this base of relaxation.
Of course, horses don’t start out that way – it’s a process and you can see some of the baby steps in the video. Once your horse is relaxed and connected with the easy stuff, then you can progress to more difficult behaviours and more challenging situations. A relaxed horse can still work with energy and you can take this relaxation into jumping and ridden work, too. A horse who is relaxed will move in a way which is much healthier for his muscles as well as his mind as he won’t be carrying tension. Of course, focusing on relaxation also means you won’t see other extreme signs of tension such as bucking or bolting.
Although it won’t always be perfect, if you prioritise relaxation and connection with your horse throughout your training, management and time together, you’ll see more softness and confidence in your horse and you’ll progress at the pace that is best for your horse. This approach is safer and more fun for both of you!
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8 thoughts on “How To Get Relaxation In Training”
Super post, Hannah. Thank you. This is such a keystone for everything we do with horses. My knees complain about walking long distances, so I’m taking Boots out more riding my bike, which is not something I can do unless she remains relaxed as she trots along on the berm.
I love watching these. I think my first question is how to keep a horse from being mouthy by hand feeding them. I have one who is already awful to even consider hand feeding.
Nice post thanks Hannah. I think it wouldhave been helpful as well to show a couple of horses that weren’t relaxed in training to highlight the difference
Yes I agree. Being able to compare and contrast is useful. Not way over threshold which is generally quite obvious but the type of tenseness that is easily overlooked would be useful.
Great reminder Hannah, thank you
Excellent video, stillness, a reward unto itself? A clear pond waiting for a tossed pebble? Capturing it Together!
Elsa Sinclair’s movie “Taming Wild: A girl and a mustang” an interesting exploration of the concept, Stillness.
The movie is available on Vimeo.com.
Thanks Hannah, another very informative and helpful video!
Hi where do you get your extendible touch targets?