Excerpt from “Racinet explains Baucher”
“I used to have a school horse who was “lazy” or, rather, who had been made so by dint of poor equitation. So I would demonstrate to my students what the proper conditioning to the legs should be by using the crop two or three times in strict conjunction with the legs, and, subsequently, I would ride the horse carefully avoiding two errors. The first error would have been to use my legs and my hand together; the second would have been to associate, even for a short time, a steady action of legs to a steady speed (the aids are a means for transition, not for maintenance; when they have reached their goal, they must quit; maintenance pertains to the horse.)
After a few minutes of this riding, my horse would e sufficiently aroused to allow me what follows. I would come into the middle of the ring, stop, completely drop the reins, wait a few seconds, and then, by the mere pressure of my heels, start the canter from a halt without any intermediary steps of walk or strides of trot. Applause.
Then I would say, ‘I am going to erase this conditioning before your very eyes.’ I would go half a perimeter of the arena at a trot, keeping my legs actively on and preventing, with my hands, the horse from accelerating.
Then I would come into the middle of the arena, stop, drop the reins, and try, with my heels, to start a canter again. But this time, I wouldn’t get any canter, nor any trot, nor even a walk; the horse would stay still!
It has been said that Baucher had powerful legs, but this does not hold water, since shouting won’t help if one applies in Greek to somebody who does not speak Greek.”
That last line was really fascinating. Not new, by any means, but still a good reminder for me. I recently was talking to a lady who was telling me about this horse she was trying to start. She was telling me that the horse goes forward just fine from the ground, but as soon as you get in the saddle, he doesn’t want to move forward. Then she told me that she will be kicking and kicking him, but he still won’t go. Will yelling louder in people speak get this horse to move?
It seems that it hadn’t crossed her mind that there was any other way to communicate with the horse. I reminded me to not get more forceful, only get more perceptive.
And, from the excerpt above, you can train a horse to do anything, even to ignore you.