“There are two states of being with a horse; active and passive… One you are directing, the other you are allowing under your awareness.”
– Kalley Krickeberg
Active is when we say: “Could you do something?” or “Could you change what you’re doing and/or how?”
Passive is when we say: “Yes, that’s what I wanted… Thank you. I’ll take pressure off and get out of your way so that you can do what I asked of you.”
These are such vital states! Not just with horses, but with all species (including people…). Think about how annoying it is when someone asks you to do a chore of some kind and then constantly hovers around you or glances over at you nervously – as if they don’t trust that you can do it. Either you’d believe that you can’t do something (because of how they’re acting) and get “bad” at it because of that, or you just wouldn’t do it because you don’t feel respected.
I want my animals to be as sensitive as possible and feel trusted with the jobs they’ve been given. To go back to Kalley’s quote: When we ride, it can be passive (remember – the more we use the reins, the less they use their brains!). I might ask my horse to trot in a circle. The aspects “trot” and “circle” being the only (or main) two things I’m going to be picky about. So I get out of my horses way by riding fluidly and on a loose rein (or passive contact). I only come out of this passive state when he or she stops trotting, going in a circle, or… both.
This will lead to a willing horse who when you say, “Let’s trot in a circle” answers with, “Got it!” They know that you won’t keep nagging them about something they’re already doing and that you’ll just be with them when they do it right.