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The Paradox of Training - Energy vs Relaxation
We all know that our horses need to be relaxed to perform well. When they are tense in mind, body, or both - they will tend to be stiff, resistant, distracted, and even disobedient. Tension in the horse will inhibit his ability to learn, and can bring you to an impasse in your training. So if you have tension, you need to have a concrete plan to address the problem, if you are going to move forward in your training.
So how do you get your horse to relax? First examine what makes your horse tense: Is he the type that is so high strung that he is tense all the time? Worried in the barn and in the field, as well as under saddle? Or is he like most horses... in that he has no problems relaxing in general (and may even be quite laid back by nature), but he gets tense under saddle with increased demands?
In other words, if you just stand around on loose reins talking to your friends... does your horse stand quietly, or even go to sleep? Or does he paw and dance around and nervously want to keep moving? Let's call the type of horse that nervously wants to keep moving a Type A horse, and the horse that relaxes when the pressure is off a Type B horse. Read on to find out how to master the paradox of energy vs relaxation for each of those two types of horses...