Dr. Haefner's Corner "Ask the Doc", Question # 1: I struggle when my horse bolts. I go straight to my hand and get in the waterski situation. Is there any way I can train my brain to be quicker to use my seat? (Claire)

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Thank you for the question.  In every consultation, my first concern is the welfare of the rider and the horse.  This is always a challenge for me when I don’t personally know the horses, trainers, and riders involved.  So, before sharing some thoughts, I want you to know that in responding to your question I will assume that you and your horse are well matched for your skill and experience and that you have the assistance of an experienced and competent trainer who can help you progress safely and efficiently.
With that said, you are asking an important and fundamental question about methods for “re-programming” instinctive or reflexive responses.  All of us have instinctive responses to perceived threat.  You can think about someone coming up to you and unexpectedly snapping their fingers in front of your face.  The vast majority of people will blink in this situation.  Your challenge is tantamount to finding a way not to blink when confronted with the snap.  You can play with this at home if you have someone willing to snap their fingers repeatedly for you. (Click on Question Title above (in blue) to read full answer)

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