“This is new to me – I might be a little like Newt 😉… what’s the purpose behind getting him to stand on the box? Is it for bringing out his balance or something else?”-Christina
I consider this type of training to be moderate to advanced groundwork. Most people see the need for basic groundwork which involves basic leading and lunging but few see the true potential that moderate and advanced groundwork has to offer.
Horses have an amazing capacity for learning and I believe that they benefit from mental exercise every bit as much as they do from physical exercise. While it is true that we are always working with both the physical and the mental horse it is also true that most exercises lean toward being more of one or the other.
It is pretty clear that this box is a mental challenge. There is some physical challenge too but the things that are being tested and strengthen the most is the ability for the two of us to communicate. Newt is allowed to ask questions and to make mistakes. I am required to give him guidance and cues in a way that he continues to progress without becoming scared or having a attitude.
Lets look at it from another angle: There are people who will make the box exercise ‘all about the box’. In their mind, success and failure will depend on the success of the box. Often times these individuals will go to any lengths to ‘conquer’ the box…including destroying the relationship, as long as the horse gets on the box. (P.S.- You can replace the word ‘box’ with any end goal and find half of what is wrong with horse training)
Maybe it will help Newt’s balance or maybe it is just a silly trick…but I do know this; although it may LOOK like the exercise is all about the box, it is really about communication. I still want Newt to get on the box but ‘getting’ there, the journey or the process, is as important – or more important- than the end result.