Fire and Ice

Simply put, some horses are naturally generally more inclined to be fiery and confident than others and some learn to become fiery to protect themselves from perceived forcefulness. Other horses are naturally more timid, shy and reserved generally with strong flight instincts. Fighting fire with fire will cause a raging inferno, but if you decide instead to quell the fire by being cool, calm and even more gentle, this will put out the angry flames and reassure the timid shy horse equally and there will gradually be nothing left that the horse feels they need to fight against or fear. Fighting and becoming stronger and more determined with a horse will only destroy your relationship and reduce trust, whether the horse is naturally timid or a fiery. Never try to completely pigeon hole your horse though, as different circumstances will bring out different aspects of natural or acquired behaviour traits.

Helping a horse feel safe and comfortable to be working with you is the most important basic to establish first, above all others. Once the horse does trust you, they will then be willing to allow you to teach them how to make the little corrections necessary to improve their balance, co-ordination, suppleness, tempo and rhythm without becoming irritated, angry or afraid. If you try to teach the horse the aids to understand how to make the corrections before trust is well established, it will require you to use force, which will destroy trust further, and the amount of force you need to use is likely to escalate.

Spend time well with your horse.

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