How Retreat And Approach Builds Confidence In The Horse

Pat Parelli says that it’s more effective to use Retreat and Approach with skeptical horses than the familiar Approach and Retreat.   If you watch Pat when he gets an unconfident horse at one of the Tour Stops, he will often walk around leading the horse for half an hour telling jokes and stories.   We wish he would go ahead and start with the horse.   We don’t realize that Pat is employing powerful psychology while he talks by retreating from the horse.  It’s the best way to build a horse’s confidence.

One of the strategies that Pat shows when riding an unconfident horse is to circle a scary object from a safe distance, then turn towards it and half circle the other way.    Let the horse look at it from both eyes.   Always turn towards the scary object and half circle, gradually getting closer until the horse relaxes.   Pat often uses the energy to get fun rollbacks from his horse.   

In this video, watch Lisa Carter’s mare BB explore the new gravel pile in the same fashion.   She half circles one way, then the other.  She RETREATS, THEN gradually gets closer until she satisfies herself that it is safe and there are no wolves hiding under the pile.

In our Level 1 and Trail Confidence Clinics we cover this strategy in depth, exposing horses to many different types of objects that simulate what you are likely to encounter on the trail, but in a fun and safe environment.  Come ride with Christi Rains in one of our Parelli clinics to learn the latest strategies from Pat and Linda to develop that Dream Relationship with your Perfect Partner!

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