Courtesy of Downunder Horsemanship
Anticipation is a common problem that plagues horses in all disciplines, particularly horses that are hot-blooded and sensitive. Horses are great at predicting our behavior and learning our habits, and it isn’t generally too hard for them to do so. As predators, we tend to follow the same routine, day in and day out. It doesn’t take long before our horses start to figure out what we’re going to do and where we’re going to do it.
Anticipation isn’t necessarily a bad thing, though. In fact, it’s one characteristic that makes horses so trainable. If they didn’t anticipate, we wouldn’t be able to train them. For example, when we ask a horse to go forward using Squeeze, Cluck, Spank, we’re relying on the fact that in time the horse will start anticipating that after the squeeze comes the cluck and after the cluck comes the spank. Eventually, he moves off of just the squeeze. The trick is to use the horse’s anticipation in our favor.