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If you selected second option you might have reacted correctly if filly was gently asked to respect your space previously and elected to ignore request out of defiance. In such a scenario you would need to reinforce your authority lest she view herself as being alpha leader amongst you.
But what if filly stepped against you because wind was carrying along a plastic bag that startled her? In such a case if you discipline your horse you do her a huge disservice because she's not trying to be defiant or challenge your authority – she's scared and she wanted your reassurance! If you start cuffing your filly for violating your personal space she will be like a deer caught in a car's headlights; bag to her left and handler to her right are scaring her and she'll either bolt or become paralyzed.
Had you understood root of her concern you could have forgiven invasion of your space and instead showed your filly plastic bag was nothing to be concerned about. Such reassurances would have put her mind at ease, allow her to regain focus on task at hand and hopefully become desensitized towards future encounters with plastic bags.
A trainer that believed in "one size fits all" philosophy would probably have chosen option two in above scenario since at face value that would be correct reaction, but without understanding horse or motivation behind her action his "correction" would have further compounded problem. It is essential a handler take time to understand a horse's behavior before attempting to correct it since one size most definitely does not fit all. And who would better understand your horse than you?
In addition training process does not have to be stressful battle of wills that most of us initially believe it to be. Taken slowly, both horse and owner can actually look forward to advancing along lesson plan. As owner and horse work together, each will develop an even better understanding of other's mannerisms, personality and expectations… and with understanding comes success.
Jeffrey Rolo, owner of AlphaHorse and an experienced horse trainer and breeder, is the author of the above article. You will find many other informational articles dealing with horse training and care as well as games and other horse fun on his website: http://www.alphahorse.com.