Intention is a very important part of everything we do with horses. Especially because animals, not just horses can sense our intentions. I posted this photo because interestingly, I never intended to ride bridless. It evolved out of my Intention to communicate with less equipment and more language.
There are numerous examples of this in action but here’s an easy one you may have seen. A person goes out to a pasture of a hard to catch horse. They have a halter hidden behind their back. This makes me laugh always. That horse knows the intention to catch him. He is reading the person not the halter.
I had a mare in training a long time ago who hated to be de-wormed. I swear she knew the day I woke up and “thought” today is worming day before I even came out of the house. She was no where to be found that day and wouldn’t come near me. Any other day she was no problem at all.
So how do we do we use Intentional thinking to create positive communication instead of sending out unclear and unintended ideas and body language.
Today I was at the farm and Mercury had gotten a cut under his eye. These are notorious difficult areas to doctor due to the proximity of the eye and the delicateness of the area. I did not put a halter on Merc. I simple stood with him and said I need to look at your eye so I can help you heal it. I made my actions slow, patient and deliberate and he allowed me to put the Calendula gel on the wound. He never pulled away or even flinched.
In training communication, Intention looks as broad as “we’re going to have a fun session today” to “I am going to help my horse learn to push more with this hind leg” All Training starts with a thought of what you would like to do BUT no attachment to what the outcome is. That is something that needs to be felt in the moment and is a constantly changing energy. My Intention during training may change and evolve throughout the session. The key is staying slow and giving space for thoughtful Intentions. Sometimes my horse does something so fantastic and unexpected because of this. Training without expectation is the key to more fun and relaxing times with your horse. Learning when to let your intention shift with the horses is another good thing to practice.
That would look like, I intended to do some high energy work and my horses energy was low. The path of least resistance would be to recognize this and adjust my intention to match my horses true energy levels. Some lower key less energetic play. Anyone who is really into their technical work knows you can fill an hour with quite complex Liberty, Line or Mounted walking movements!