The other day, I was preparing pancakes and my son came with a question: “why do you add baking powder?”, and here I go for a casual lesson about bakery, chemical properties of yeast and so on. Another time, the question was about the German language, since we just moved to Germany: that was time to have our first lesson, eins, zwei, drei…
I see the education of my horse the exact same way. When I arrive to the barn or the pasture, I have a plan in mind: I may lunge him first as usual, then we will work on refining the backing up, then I want to improve the seat-stops, etc. But this is only a guideline. There is a very important parameter to keep in mind: your horse might not be ready for this today, or it might need a completely different exercise in a particular situation.
For example, last time I took my horse from the pasture, we walked between two lines of heavy iron fences, about 1 1/2-meter larger, crossing a small stream. For some reason, this situation was considered scary, uncomfortable for my horse: time for education! We stayed there for about ten minutes. I sent it from right to left, gently pushing it, crossing the hind legs every time it walked half a circle before me and rubbing it a lot. By the end of this exercise, everything was under control: fences, “narrow” path, stream, that was not a problem anymore.
True Unity, Tom Dorrance