Training with Music - part 2
The other day I was telling you about how I started to use music to train my horses and so I wanted to tell you a little more about my experiences. When I trained to music, I found that the horses responded more quickly to my spontaneous direction. We became united as a team beyond anything I had experienced before. It caused me to be more careful not to ask anything of the horse that would cause the loss of rhythm or negatively impact the horse's ability to perform. Music made me a more tactful rider. My spontaneous cues caused the horses to focus on performing at a moment's notice, which created a brilliance in their steps. It was a miraculous discovery. After that, I developed a training program in four stages.
In the beginning, when I first started a horse to music, I chose classical or any music without a beat so the horse could focus on even cadence and develop an evenness and smoothness of the gait. This way, he could easily attach to the flow of the music. After the horse responded naturally to what he was listening to, the next step was to pick music with an obvious beat. The beat woke up the horse to the idea that the beat was directing his performance. Because the horse had learned to flow with the musical already, he had an ability to make the changes of expression so that he could stay connected. After a short time, he became totally aware that the music was directing both of us. The horse was able to quickly learn to forecast what I was asking by listening to the music. Similar to how horses will respond in the show arena by taking a cue from the click of the loudspeaker or by listening to the announcer and performing what he or she requests.
The developed ability of the horse guided me to the third stage of his training, where I allowed the horse a significant say in what we performed together. I found that by this stage of his training, he was more than willing to offer original behaviors. Once he had learned these 3 stages, the last stage was to combine all three elements in his training session: Warming him up to classical music, usually Mozart for the mind, then using a piece of music that had a beat. Once he was responsive to my direction, I moved on to allowing the horse more freedom to help in creating the choreography we used.
It's a fun way to train a horse and can be applied to the training of any of events you wish to pursue. Showing doesn't have to be just about competition. After you have achieved this relationship, showing becomes an expression of movements only and you will discover a championship performance in the unbridled spirit that is unexplainable