The break booth

Nov 15, 2020

Sometimes it can be beneficial to take some time to rest during your work. You can use this during groundwork, starting young horses and also when you’re riding. What really works for me is "the break booth". This is an imaginary spot (can be anywhere), where you can ‘park’ your horse, at a distance with a low neck, to take a break. 

This can help you and your horse enormously to process everything and have a moment of rest. You can learn this in steps from the ground: 

Preparatory exercises: ask the hindquarters away from the circle, claiming your space, backwards and the exercise to lower his neck. You can then form a combination of these, resulting in "the safe space". 

1. From the circle you ask his hindquarters away, so that he ends up in front and facing you. 

2. You ask your horse, through your breath (inhale), energy (up), posture (make it big) and lead hand (up), energy through the line or leadrope (little wiggle towards him), backwards. 

3. When he comes to a halt 2-3 meters away, you move your leading hand down with the line in it, in order to ask your horse to follow your hand and lower his neck. If he does not respond to this (yet), you walk 1 step towards him and ask again. Is he still not responding? Then walk up to him one more step and ask again. You can move more until you are next to him. 

4. Slide yourself back to the place where you started. 

5. In this exercise it is important that you gently show him what you want and then return to your starting position 2-3 meters away from him.  

The horses often find it very pleasant and when they understand what the intention is, it creates peace of mind for your horse. 

During training, especially for horses that are very sensitive, I often notice that they want to go to their safe space themselves when it gets scary or overwhelming. 

Once when we were working with a very sensitive, insecure and flight dangerous horse, the rider was riding him just for the second or third time and then... hunters shot. And what did the horse do? He shot forward, to the side, fell down on his knees and... into his break booth! How glad we were to have taught him that way of coping.