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“When you first teach a horse something, it’s called the concept lesson. Your goal is to get the general idea of the lesson across to the horse. When you first ask a horse to do an exercise, he won’t automatically know what to do. In fact, he’s probably going to do everything but what you want him to do,” Clinton explains.
For example, when you first ask a horse to back up on the ground, he’ll probably stick his head up in the air and ignore you. “He might turn left, he might turn right, he might even rear, but the very last thing he’ll try is taking a step back. When he takes a step back, if you release the pressure, he’ll look for that answer again. However, if he takes a step back and you don’t release the pressure, he’ll go through that whole cycle of options (rearing, ignoring you, turning left, turning right, etc.) again. Then he’ll come back to taking a step backwards. If you miss releasing the pressure the second time, it’ll get even worse,” Clinton says.
Every time a horse does what you want or even acts like he’s going to do it, you’ve got to release the pressure so that he knows what the answer is. “I’m so obsessed about it that in the beginning, if my horse even gives the impression that he’s thinking about doing what I want, I’ll still release the pressure. A thought will soon turn into an action,” Clinton says.
Horsemen who attend Clinton’s Fundamentals Clinic in Great Falls, Montana will learn firsthand how to successfully take a horse through the concept lesson and recognize when to apply and release pressure for all of the groundwork and riding exercises in the Fundamentals Series.
The clinic is being held at the Kings Arena, June 9th – 11th, and three participant spots are available for horsemen to join Clinton in the arena. The application to participate in the clinic can be found on our website.
The clinic is open to spectators. Tickets can be purchased online or by calling 888-287-7432.