Quite often I get around people who make a reference to a “soft feel” with their horse, and I know I am learning more about getting with my horse everyday. But what I see is some people may be getting a soft feel with the reins, but there isn’t much for direction or life to the horse’s feet. Coming from a working and performance background, it was always important to get the job done. You may not always be proud of what it took to get there, but the important thing was you were there when you needed to be.
The horse can do the job we are asking of him and learn to do it in a confident way if we can regulate the amount of panic and confusion. If the horse suffers the experience with a lot of panic or confusion, it is not something he will be looking forward to again. If we can present an experience and at least minimize, if not eliminate, panic and confusion, the horse can experience a job without a bad experience.
This discomfort or mental pressure the horse experiences can be used to motivate him to seek the relief we will offer him as he comes back on track to be with us. It takes pressure for relief to be effective and relief for pressure to be effective. The art of horsemanship is the proper balance of these two factors. Too much pressure creates a nervous h