Telegraphing our Next Cue

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Father and Son Ranchers

It doesn’t matter what we are doing with our horses, there is always the fine line of them anticipating what we are going to ask of them. I think most of us have experienced that moment when we we’re just starting to think what we wanted to do next and our horse started doing it. I’ve had many people come for a roping lesson and they tell me, I swear this horse can read my mind. I tell them jokingly that if their mind is in their butt, then yes, he’s reading your mind. What do I mean by that? We teach horses to react to the cues that we give them, we just aren’t always aware of the cues they are picking up on. We are as much of a creature of habit as our horses are so sometimes, we are not aware that we may shift our bodies a certain way just before we give certain cues. If we do this consistently then the shifting becomes as much of the cue as the cue itself. We shift out of habit, so we are unaware of what we just did and have no idea how the horse knew what we were going to ask of them, but to the horse it was an obvious cue. In boxing, if you do something just before you throw a certain punch it is called telegraphing your punch, that’s basically what we are doing to our horses. We are telegraphing our next cue. Its not always a bad thing, but if we are having trouble with horses anticipating the wrong thing, then first, we must look at our riding to make sure it’s not our fault. Remember horse are magnificent animals and are very smart but they are not mind readers.

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