Every horse that comes here for training is like a puzzle that needs to be figured out. There are certain principles of training that are standard. They form the framework for the puzzle, but every horse is an individual that may require different techniques to help him or her succeed. When I put the pieces together correctly, the horse responds appropriately.
I strongly believe that horses mirror our feelings or emotions. I once had a student arrive with her horse for a riding lesson when she was in an angry mood after having a fight with mom. Her normally calm horse was going ballistic. I told the student to step away until she got her emotions under control while I worked with her horse to help him settle down. Once my student was calm, she was able to re-approach her horse and they had a great lesson. Horses are so forgiving of our mistakes!
By the middle of this last week I was feeling a bit frustrated with Aspen. My wrists hurt. I felt like I was being black and white with my cues and use of pressure and release, but she wasn't getting it! That night I read a Parelli article in the local freebie horse newspaper about starting colts. It reminded me that I needed to "tame" Aspen, or in other words, build her confidence in me, before we could progress in her training. I may have felt like I was doing all the right things, but Aspen was telling me by her actions that what I thought was right wasn't what she needed to succeed.
I went out the next day with more humility and a real desire to connect with her. I really didn't feel like I was doing anything that much different, but the difference in how she responded was noticeable. My attitude made the difference. I was really pleased with her progress on Friday. Hopefully we will be able to continue to build on that.
I'll try to make a post about Zeus later. I've got some video of him, but we've got company for dinner right now and I've got a meeting to go to after, so...