This only dawned on me recently, I had an extended time away from riding horses while focusing on our growing young family and had some time to reflect. I realised why I felt like some aspects of my horsemanship were failing, it became a job with a strict agenda. I had to get away from it, reflect about why I loved being with horses and it was then I realised that the more empathy I held towards horses the greater connection we could develop.
It was something that took me by surprise at first. I experienced my old show mare do things that I could never have imagined we could do previously. I found that starting liberty training uncovered some mistrust and holes in our relationship. We had to start from scratch and reunite.
Its been such a rewarding experience and I encourage you to do the same with your horse no matter where you are at with your training. Try more empathy and less agenda. Go for a ride in the bush or along the beach, try a little liberty, play more, use your body language to communicate with your horse and reward as often as possible.
Don’t get me wrong you still have to be a confident leader, however you can do so with empathy towards the horse and offer more kindness than discipline. I was taught once that anger starts where knowledge ends, this was a lesson I had to learn for myself, and to be honest I only learnt it through reflection. If only I knew then what I know now.
All the best.