Contributed by: Windy Griffith, Rebel Barrel Horses
We have all been there. You finally get your horse working the way you have always envisioned, then after a little time, things start to slowly regress. You find yourself frustrated again. I am also guilty of this and have to remind myself, “Have I done my homework?”
When we are having an issue with a horse, we are usually very consistent in working that issue out of the horse. However, when things are going right we tend to slack off. We need to ask ourselves, "What has changed in our routine? What was working to make the horse get better?"
A lot of times in my own training program, it is the drills and the dry work I am doing consistently that help the horse build its confidence. It also helps us make ourselves more consistent with the horse. Giving our horse the opportunity for consistency and making sure we, ourselves, are consistent are two very important keys to having any success.
Remember repetition is what makes a horse consistent. All horses are different in the amount it takes to make them consistent and build confidence. But when you start putting it all together and having success, never stop doing your homework. You might not need 5 days a week of your routine workouts, but you still need some practice sessions to keep your horse sharp and yourself in tune with them. Remember, "Horses Never Lie", so they will tell you when you're not doing your homework.
Quick Tip: Keep a journal!
It may sound silly, but if you take notes of what you’re doing with your horse in working out an issue, you will find your perfect solution of what works best for the horse in developing a winning and consistent program.
- What bridle combination worked best?
- What drills or exercises did you do during the week?
- How did the horse react to each of the drills and/or exercises?
- If you're a competitor, keep notes on how the competition went at the end of each week.
Remember to give yourself and your horse time to develop. No one becomes a winner overnight. Never stop doing your homework. Successful horsemen and your competitors won't stop doing theirs...
Do you keep a journal of your weekly activities and log your horse's progress?
Windy Griffith is a Two Time Reserve World Champion Barrel Racer and Pole Bender. She is a professional trainer and clinician with almost 20 years of experience. Her mission is to help others reach their own goals in competition and horsemanship.
Learn more by following her at Rebel Barrel Horses on Facebook!