Oklahoma trail horses, like trail horses everywhere, don’t typically see a lot of car wash obstacles on the trail. The Bad Girls Confidence Building Clinic posed this new challenge to the attendees and their horses. It’s a fun obstacle and one that teaches the horse to trust the rider. At the clinic, it was used to teach some less experienced riders the importance of riding with purpose, confidence, and towards a point beyond the challenge immediately in front of the horse.
Over and over, the new riders were coached not to look down at the horse’s head if he stopped as he approached the streamers. It is a natural human reaction to look down to see what the horse is going to do when he stops. But, just the opposite of what is needed to make the horse feel comfortable with the new and strange contraption he is being asked to walk under. When the rider looks down, the horse senses indecision and reluctance in the rider that only makes the obstacle seem even more concerning. After all, the rider is now focused on the same concern the horse has.
The participants were taught to look straight ahead and fix their gaze on a point far in advance of the car wash such as the wall at the end of the arena. They were then encouraged to ride forward with a sense of purpose and the belief the horse would walk under without hesitation. Many were pleasantly surprised to learn how much confidence they could inspire in their horse and themselves. The car wash is great team building exercise for you and your horse.
We applaud the Bad Girls for putting on the clinic and working to make their members better horsemen!