Your Spot, My Spot
The fourth connection exercise is called “Your Spot, My Spot”. In this exercise we take the spot where the horse is standing. You basically tell the horse: “I want to stand in your spot, so I want you to go away and move to another spot”.
This is also what horses do with each other in their herd. They will take a wanted spot by driving the other horse away from that spot.
Why do you do “Your Spot, My Spot”?
It's important that a horse also wants to give his spot to his trainer or move over
for his trainer.
By doing this exercise (in a assertive yet friendly way!) you will gain respect from the horse when it comes to your personal and intimate space. It's safer to work with a
horse that moves away from you if you ask to.
By doing this exercise we learn how to be assertive but still friendly.
We also practise in developing our driving aids. Although you are showing yourself higher in rank at that moment, this is not about hierarchy (by the way: hierarchy is contextual!). It's about communication!
Because if you know how to use driving aids in a calm and friendly way, and your horse yields to your driving aids in a calm and relaxed way, then yielding to driving aids in groundwork will also become much easier and fluent (think about asking the horse to take distance while leading him, or asking the horse to go forward on the circle, etc).
A horse needs space and distance
You always do this exercise in a large space, like a meadow or
large paddock/riding arena, especially the first times! Horses need space and distance when you ask them to move, otherwise they can feel pressured, even if you are very calm and friendly. If they have space to take distance, they will be perfectly ok with you taking their spot.