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Franklin Levinson's

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Subtle requests are the key.

Hi Franklin,

Hope you don't mind me emailing you again. I have about cracked it with my ex-racehorse on the lunge. I have him standing, walking and trotting to command.

However, when I today asked him to go into canter he just went mad having a mad bucking fit and tried to go at flat out gallop on the circle. He cantered round for a few seconds and then started bucking frantically again. I think he is just feeling so good now. I am wondering should I still canter him or keep it at walk, trot, etc. to try and keep him calm? If I am to carry on cantering him should I just let him gallop and buck until he wares himself out?

I hope you don't mind but I am so pleased with your advice you have given me.

Thanks again. Kind Regards, Julie

Hi Julie,

Great to hear my suggestions have helped and things are going better. Perhaps your 'request' for him to canter was not quite appropriate and became too strong. If you scared him at all he would exhibit the kind of response you are describing.

We humans have a tendency to 'amp things up' pretty quick sometimes. See how subtle and soft you can make your requests and still get the response you want. Do more than lunge in a circle as well. Move him in a straight line. 'Send' him in and out of places, gates, the stall, wash rack, trailer, over a low jump and back. Practice having him stop and face you, backing a few steps, coming forward a few steps, turning side to side, etc. Make it like a wonderful soft, gentle game. Practice playing with him at the end of the lunge line so he is responding nicely 15-20 feet away from you. Do this at liberty as well in the round pen and then in an arena.

He does not have to run frantically around to tire himself out before he listens to you. Also, horses just feeling good do not move frantically. So, that is not it. He will listen if your approach is very appropriate and your connection with him is right on. Maybe you didn't really do enough or the kind of things to get closely connected.

Make it your intention to 'connect' and not just to move him around. Drop your agenda of anything other than your great bond and connection. Keep that as you constant agenda. You will know this by how it all 'feels'. This is the hardest thing to teach, 'feel'. How does he feel at any moment? Its like trying to figure out how our partners, spouse, children feel at any time. We intuit it. We somehow know it inside. This is what all horse enthusiasts should develop. But they don't even think of it. They generally just start projecting their 'stuff', misconceptions and prejudices on the horse.

Anyway, this is what I would suggest. Do let me know how it all goes. I am most interested and happy to be of service.

Sincerely, Franklin

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