Right Brain Extrovert
This horse constantly needs reassurance. He gets confused easily and then gets afraid, so he needs you to make things simple, which will help him relax; especially since that is not something that comes easily for him around humans.
- Frequent disengagement and transitions. Also use a lot of consistency, it’s calming. For example, circles are great and the more worried your horse is, the smaller you need to make the circles. You could also weave around barrels or buckets placed six-feet apart. Frequent transitions also uses the principle of consistency… keep doing one-rein transitions every few strides, from walk to trot, until your horse refocuses and calms down.
- Speed up, match the energy and add "four ounces." You need to be asking your horse to go more quickly than he really wants to; this interrupts the fear pattern. If you don’t feel safe and confident doing this when riding, get off and do it from the ground. For example, if your horse gets frantic and wants to head to the arena gate, paces at the gate, etc., take him there and get him to pace back and forth faster than he wants to do it! Do it until he relaxes and be ready to start again.
- Use longer lines when playing on the ground, it will give your horse more drift. (22’ is ideal unless you are good with a 45’ Line).
- Respect thresholds; use approach and retreat to overcome them.
- Keep learning sessions short and simple.
- Relax when he relaxes. Until then keep your energy up and get your horse busy.
- Parelli Patterns! They give him focus.
- Straight lines help a horse gather speed. You don’t want this! Use straight lines only when your horse is more self-controlled.
- Don’t hold him back; this increases fear. Give the energy a focus and remember to use ONE rein for control – it disengages and calms.
- On Line is better than Liberty if your horse is upset. That way you can “hold his hand”. He’ll tend to get lost and disconnected at Liberty.
- Don’t teach your horse more than one thing at a time.
- Don’t try to teach him when he’s upset or unconfident. That’s the time to use calming strategies.
- Forcing him over thresholds usually results in an accident.
- Don’t wait for things to get better, he needs your leadership to help him get calm again.