Saturday, September 25, 2010

Showing Leadership and Trust

When trying to gain confidence, I'll often allow the herd or in this case one horse to help another horse.  Not only is he helping another horse, but helping me as well.  Sometimes, it's just better to have a horse be the trainer.   Jazz has been here for 1 1/2 weeks.  He has learned valuable lessons on manners, so far.  Yesterday, was the first time I've worked with him in the arena, since he's been added to the family.

I've been working with him for the past 2 years.  Jazz's mind was "I'm going to get you before you get me".  It's taken a lot of patience to get him where he is today. 

I brought him in the arena.  Actually, I asked Shhzar, who had just left the arena, to lead Jazz in.  I told him Jazz needed him.   Shhzar took my request very seriously and went back in with Jazz following him.  Shhzar is 14.2 hands.  He's an arab.  Jazz is 16 hands.  He is a Tennessee Walker/Quarter Horse.  Size doesn't matter, what does matter is the mind.  The mind must be strong, fair and centered in order for the horses to feel safe. 

Knowing that Jazz is afraid of going forward, because there's a big black hole in front him, I lead him down the jumping lane.  I started first using a halter and lead rope.  This gave him a bit more security.  He can feel my energy running down the rope. His energy meeting my energy, we became connected.  Even though, the trust isn't strong enough yet, this is a great start.  I made sure I stayed in front of him, not only to keep him from being scared, but this is a strong leading position.  If I try to put myself back at his shoulder, I'd be the foal to him. Not only would this scare him, but he would feel he needed to be leader.  This was the last thing he needed.  I needed to take the leadership.  For now, I need to make sure he understands that I'm here to help him through his fears. 

When, I felt he was ready I took off the lead rope but stayed in front of him, so he wouldn't think I left him.  We went up and down the jumping lane a few times. I was looking for quietness.

Then I set him up in the jumping lane and told him to wait.  I told him, Shhzar was going to help him get through it.  For the very first time, I saw the real Jazz.  Instead of feeling aggressive, he felt scared and very unsure. 

He felt safe enough to actually show Shhzar and I just how much he was scared.   He has always hidden behind the aggressive behavior.  He is coming out of his shell and showing us the real Jazz.  He's trusting me and the herd more and more everyday.  He is allowing us to see his real self.  Isn't this what people will do too...put up a front, to try to hide your real self.?

I, again, asked Shhzar for help.  "Show him the way, Shhzar."  Shhzar very softly turned and was gone helping Jazz through the jumping lane.  Shhzar being so confident and sure of himself is what Jazz needed to see.

"Jazz, you can do this."
 What I love about this last picture is Shhzar saying "This way. Follow me."

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