Training can be very boring for a horse.
Endless circles on the lunge…
Meaningless figures in the arena…
But it doesn’t have to seem that way for your horse. If you help them understand the exercises you’re working on, make your expectations from him very clear and reward him when he deserves it, training can become just as fun for your horse as it is for you!
Poles and cones are great to help your horse understand where you want to go and what you want to do. You can use these materials as a mark for when you ride transitions, for example. After a few times, your horse will understand what to do and be able to join the thinkingprocess of the training. These materials will also help you dubblecheck how clear your cues are. Are you able to make a transition exactly when your horse passes the cone? Or does the transition go to slow or fast? And what can you change in your cues to improve that?
Always use steps in your cues. For example, for a transition from walk to trot on the lunge, you can start by making yourself taller, lifting your whip, clicking your tongue, counting to 3 and then use your whip on the ground behind your horse. If you repeat this very consistently, your horse will make the transition when you click your tongue, or even when you make yourself taller. Adding these steps to your cues and always using them the same, will help your horse know what you expect from him.
Horses will try to look for the right answer to your cues. If you don’t tell them they did well, they will continue looking for what you want them to do. This causes a lot of miscommunications between humans and horses. Especially when you teach your horse something new, you can reward the second it looks like they might make the movement you want them to do. And don’t forget to give them enough breaks between exercises as well, to help your horse process everything he’s learned.
So next training, focus on how much your horse actually enjoys the training. And figure out how you can both have fun.