Show him the way
Show them the way. My coach used to tell me this in lessons with young horses long ago.
It is an important theme we need to keep in our riding and remember its meaning.
The meaning of it is, show them what to do, not what not to do.
I’m sure you’ve heard that before, but sometimes it gets lost. Sometimes in the moment when you just need the horse to find the right answer make sure you ask yourself, am I showing him the right answer? Have I prepared him to find the right answer? Am I riding the horse I have today?
If you are locked in a room with five doors and you try to open door number one to get out and that one doesn’t open, you’ll try again. Now you try door number two and it’s a brick wall on the other side. Now you go to door number three and the handle shocks you when you try and open it. That’s the last door you’re going to try and open! That would be showing your horse what not to do and stamping out his confidence and “try” at the same time.
Every horse may have a certain number of doors they might try before they stop trying. A thoughtful and talented rider would make sure that the horse can find the right answer on the first couple of tries. If not, he will re-evaluate and ask the question a different way or perhaps go back a step and make sure that he is prepared to find the answer.
Make sure that you are always looking for ways to show your horse what to do, not what not to do. Build his confidence in you and build his confidence in himself.