A Couple of Checklists
A few months ago I had a horse stumble and fall while we were cantering. We did a nose-dive, head first, total wipeout. The "crew" at Barnardsville were all there and saw it. They saw and recognized my checklist that I go through when I know I'm coming off a horse. Now things happen really fast when you're cantering and suddenly your horse dives head first, but even in that short time I check certain things before the horse and I part ways.
This got me to thinking about how I go through a checklist when I ask a horse to do something. I go through this list very, very quickly. Fractions of seconds. It requires that I start preparing way early before I ask something of the horse. If the answer is no to any of the questions then I cannot continue.
Do I have a clear picture of what I am about to ask him?
Am I positioned properly to ask him?
Does my horse know how to do this?
Am I prepared to ask by simply changing the feel yet am I ready to do whatever it takes until it happens?
Is my horse in position to do this?
Change the feel and ask him to do it.
If he does, thank him. If he doesn't, firm up on the asking.
If he still doesn't, then it's time to, "Get off of Welfare!" But I have to be ready for whatever he needs to do to get off Welfare.
When he does whatever it was we were asking thank him, smile, and pet him.
Don't forget to smile and never hold a grudge. You're riding the greatest horse in the world!