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Clinton: Stay Consistent With Your Horse

One of the biggest keys to establishing a safe and enjoyable partnership with your horse is consistently working with him. I always say, “Consistency is your greatest ally. Inconsistency is your greatest enemy.” You can’t expect your horse to make any improvement if you leave him in the stall or pasture or if you don’t work with him regularly. Horses are just like children, they learn best with consistency and repetition.

When you teach a kid how to read, you don’t just show the alphabet to him once and then say, “Go read the book.” You practice going through it every day until he recognizes those letters and understands how they fit together to make words. Then you can progress to teaching him how to read; first by introducing simple sentences and then moving up to more complex ones.

Horses are the same—they learn best through repetition. The more consistent you are in both the way you cue your horse and how often you work with him, the faster he will progress through his training. The key to all training techniques is consistency. Regularly working with your horse gives him a chance to understand what you are teaching and will help ensure that he remembers the lessons.

If you’ve been able to spend less time than you’d like with your horse this winter, don’t beat yourself up. It’s not always an option to spend an hour or two hours five or six days a week with your horse. You can still make progress with your horse if you only have 15 or 20 minutes to spend with him every day, you just have to make the most of your time. For example, instead of leading him from his stall to the pasture and vice versa, incorporate some groundwork. Practice the C-Pattern (Intermediate Series), Backing (Fundamentals Series), or Leading Beside (Fundamentals Series) for example. Before you take his halter off, practice Flexing (Fundamentals Series) or Touch and Rub: Poll (Intermediate Series).