The need for Sp00kbusting. By Joanna Day BHSI
The purpose of spookbusting is to develop trusting, confident horse and rider partnerships and successful competitors.
The need for spookbusting is created by the change in horse training and breeding. Nowadays most training is done in safe schooling facilites removing the need to educate the horse to boldly trust his rider. The modern competition horses are far more alert, athletic and too valuable to hunt. The riders have full time jobs or education and restricted horse time.Neither horses nor riders are as hardy as they used to be!
Trust cannot just be demanded it has to be earned point by point – hard to gain and easy to lose.
The rider is the horse’s trainer so they should have sufficient knowledge and security in the saddle to be able to school the horse. Alternatively this schooling can be very successfully undertaken working the horse from the ground.
The horse’s instinctive reaction to any perceived threat is to ignore the rider’s aids and use fight or flight to regain control of his own survival. Using pressure and release techniques the aim is to school the horse to gain enough trust in his rider to remain confidently on the aids in any situation .
This is achieved by simulating unnerving situations that occur at competitions or in the environment and by schooling the horse progressively to willingly allow the rider to control him. This allows the rider the opportunity to develop his trust and confidence at gradually higher and higher levels of difficulty – then a bold courageous rideable horse is produced.
To do this the rider must not allow their emotions to interfere with the schooling.
The rider should accept responsibility for the horses safety and ask the horse to remain gentle on the aids at all times, developing respect and confidence which leads to TRUST.
If a horse does not follow his riders line of vision or allow lateral flexion then he is not trusting his rider to keep him safe. The progress moves quite differently for each horse and rider partnership , if a horse becomes nervous, rude or reluctant then review or revision is needed.
Horses have an amazing and generous ability to forgive humans’ mistakes – even after many years of adversity! Horses never seem too old to learn and once pressure and release techniques are used skilfully amazing results are achievable.
A fun floor exercise to show students how it might feel to be a ridden horse is to have two people facing same direction and the one behind to hold the head of the one in front above the ears and control them by steering them with their head – over hazards too – it can get noisy!.
6/3/17 Copyright @ Fearless Horse c/o Joanna Day. Newcotts Farm, North Newton, Bridgwater. TA7 0DQ . tel 07968 544448