In today’s world, everybody is busy. Our cell phones and worries of what else is going on in life seem to keep us constantly distracted. Most of us know the importance of being present when we are with other people. Most do not appreciate if their dinner date answers a cell phone or if their kids stare at the tv when asked about their day. Although we don’t often think about being present with our horses; this is extremely important for any success in training.
By “being present” I simply mean focused on what you are doing at that moment. You cannot expect your horse to stay attentive and focused if you are not. This is especially true with nervous, insecure horses. They tend to be more needy and buddy sour, and want a constant companion. The key to getting these types to relax is to getting them to see you as their companion so they can feel safe and comfortable. This takes focusing on the horse and establishing a kind of connection with him.
In training, you need to be present with your full attention on your horse so that you can be consistent with how and when you give a cue or apply pressure, and when you give praise or a reward. Timing is everything in training, and it takes focus to get it right. Also, aren’t we always training our horses when we are around them, even if we do not want to be?