Chieftain is training ”the stand still”
For my security I have to teach the ponies the basic rules of our society. One of the most important rules, the horse is not allowed into my space if not invited, is partly trained with leading exercises. I have to be specific and make my personal zone really obvious to the horse, so no matter what, the horse will never try to step on me or to walk over me. If necessary, he can go around me, but never ever over me. This is a basic rule essential for my safety and the first thing I make sure the horse will understand and accept.
The ponies also need to understand and accept to move or stand still when I ask them to. So, I teach them that even if they are scared, even if they misunderstand or even if they don’t want to, they have to listen to me and do as I ask them. Further on, when they are ready to move on to new owners, they will be exposed to a lot of situations that requires that they can wait for the riders signal and do as they are told to. The ponies will have to be able to stand still if a lorry crosses the road, step aside and wait for a car to overhaul and they will have to jump over a ditch I the woods or a fence that they have never seen before at a competition.
So, you can see how important it is that I teach them to be attentive and alert to my signals – at first from the ground, later on when I ride them. For the moment we work a lot with the signals for moving forwards and backwards, moving shoulder or hip, and of course – standing still and relax. To desensitize by touching them with different things and exposing them for different and sometimes a little scary objects is a part of that process.