What is the feel of the horse? How does one develop this feel? These are just a few questions that pop up within the circles of natural horsemanship training. I remember many years ago trying to develop my feel for the horse while training a 3-year-old Spotted Saddle Horse. The horse came to me as a 2 1/2 going on 3-year-old green broke horse. He was saddle broke and had a few trail rides under his girth. I remember the challenge of the first time trying to load him in a two-horse straight load trailer. The challenge wasn’t getting the horse to enter the trailer, but rather getting him to understand what it was that I was asking him to do. I knew that I needed to push the gelding hard enough to get him to step towards the trailer but not so much that he would feel trapped and shy away. I knew that I needed to refine my feel of the horse. I was prepared to do as much as was needed but as little as it takes.
When training horses you have to be able to do just enough to get the results you want and not one single bit more . Think of it like this, when training your request should come in three different levels; low, medium, and high. You wouldn’t begin to ask a horse to do something for the first time at a level of medium or high. The proper way to start to ask a horse to do something is at a very low-level of pressure. Such a low-level in fact that it is almost as if you are just thinking about what you want the horse to do. From this point you keep turning up the pressure until you get a positive response. Remember that you must give a release of pressure as soon as the horse makes the slightest try. A horse learns from the release and not from the pressure.