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by Downunder Horsemanship

Training Tip: Don’t Be So Predictable

Predators are very predictable – they do the same thing every day. Think about yourself. What do you do every morning when you get up? Chances are you have a set routine that very rarely changes. That’s because people like routines and work on the theory that if it works, there’s no need to change it. We like doing things the same way so much that often, even if something isn’t working well, we still won’t change it.

For example, let’s say that every day at four o’clock you go out to your horse’s pasture to catch him. You bring him to the barn to tack up and then go ride him for an hour. It doesn’t take long for your horse to realize that when he sees you coming to the pasture in the afternoon with a halter in your hand, he better take off the other way if he doesn’t want to have to work hard and sweat. So he comes up with ways to evade you by playing a good game of “catch me if you can.”

However, if you varied your routine when you caught the horse by sometimes taking him to his stall to eat grain and other times riding him, chances are you wouldn’t have trouble catching him. He wouldn’t know what to expect. Every time he ran away from you, he’d be taking a chance that he might miss out on getting grain. You could even go out to the pasture with the halter in your hand and just rub the horse down, without even trying to catch him.