Respond or react… we often think of our horses responding to things or reacting to things…people can do the same thing with their horses…they either respond or react to their horse. If a person is not feeling of their horse…there is a better chance that this person will react. If you are feeling of your horse…there is a much better chance that you will respond to your horse. There is a huge difference to your horse.
For example: Several months ago I had worked with an older mare that had never wanted to go into the wash rack. It was a terrible place for her to go. She and I had made great progress and she had entered the wash rack several times (off and on) since last year. It had been a while for her entering the wash rack. Today I started to walk her into the wash rack (following me into the wash rack) and I felt a very small hesitation on the end of my rope. At that very important moment…I felt the best way to tend to the moment was to release my feel on the end of my rope slightly. She just needed a moment to think and then she followed me right into the wash rack. Had I reacted to the feel that she presented…I might have thought she wasn’t going in and reacted by closing my hand firmly, therefore, it would have caused her to react and pull back on me.
I am just sharing this because I felt it was a great example of feeling of a horse. I thought about that delicate moment all afternoon. It was a great feeling! It didn’t matter to me that she went in the wash rack…it was important about how she felt about entering the wash rack. I would have hated to have caused her to not think about it. Had I just reacted to the moment…that is what would have happened…I would have caused her to react and not think. So much went on in just about 3 to 5 seconds for the mare.