During the fifth connection exercise, also known as “Easy Herding” you create an even deeper herd feeling with your horse and at the same time you work on your dominance and your qualities as a leader.
You can only start with Easy Herding when the exercise “Your Spot, My Spot” goes fluently, so when you can get your horse to move easily.
What is the goal of “Easy Herding” ?
The primary objective is to spark an even deeper connection by driving the horse in an amicable way and indicating the direction to go into at the same time. A foal is taught to react on the bodylanguage of his mother and all other members of the group from birth on, and he finds it normal to be driven by them. So it is basically taught from an early age that it should stay in between the “aids of the herd” if it wants to feel safe and secure.
A horse remembers and recognizes this his entire life, because they see everybody who drives them in an assertive but most of all FRIENDLY way as a part of their group. So by doing Easy Herding we establish a stronger herd feeling.
At the same time we also work on our dominance because we drive the horse forward. And next to that we also compose ourselves as a leader by giving direction and staying calm and confident.
Where do you do this exercise?
Every connection exercise, so also Easy Herding is done in a large paddock or meadow, so that the horse can walk away from you if it wants to because you (might have) used too much pressure. You don’t do this on purpose, but it can still happen if you don’t know a horse very well yet. Then you still have to learn to respond to each other’s body language.
It’s not a problem if you used too much pressure (if it was with a positive intent!!) and the horse felt the need to run away from you. Because if the horse can run away and takes its distance without you running after it the horse learns that there is nothing wrong. That you don't "chase" the horse like a predator would do or another horse that wants to attack.
At first it can come in handy to take the horse out of the meadow and practice in a secluded place with your horse, without any other horses walking around. This is just easier for you. However it is not necessary and you can do every connection exercise in the meadow between the other horses.
How do you do this fifth connection exercise?
During Easy Herding you ask the horse to step and you walk after the horse and behind it. You don’t ask the horse to trot even if some horses will do it on their own accord.
If you can let the horse step for a few minutes while you follow, then you make the horse change its direction. So on that moment you take over control. You can do this in an active way or you can do this in a passive way. You can also invite the horse to slow down and halt.
It is not important to always succeed, it will even be very hard at the start. By spending a few minutes on it every day you will progress because the horse will become more focused on you, even while you walk behind him. When the horse starts to react to your subtle hints you know the connection became stronger!
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