You might have noticed that you won't see me use the word "tune-up" but instead use the word "re-education." I wanted to do just a short little blog post on how my thoughts might differ from some others regarding the term "tune-up" & why I chose to use "re-education" instead.
'Tune-Up': Why the Dislike?
The word tune-up leaves a sour taste in my mouth & not the most outstanding images in my mind. The images include people pulling, jerking, yanking, spurring, & kicking on their horses with zero feel, timing, or balance. To me, Tune-up carries a connotation of punishment. I've seen people "tune" on a horse after hitting a barrel or pole, when a horse calls out to another horse, & when a horse doesn't understand what the rider is asking.
Now, don't get me wrong - I'll admit that I was guilty of "tuning on a horse" while growing up at a time before I knew any better (or knew better, but chose to succumb to my emotions or to mimic what other riders were doing around me). Now, you can bet you won't see me tuning on a horse. I've since come to see it as a horse needing to be re-taught or re-educated rather than punished. Tune-up is no longer in my vocabulary when it comes to horses. The only thing I'm going to tune-up will be a guitar!
Re-Education: A Step Towards Unlocking Your Horse's Potential
When a horse comes to me already started under saddle or as an aged riding horse, I won't be taking them in for a tune-up, but rather to re-start or re-educate them so that they might reach a higher potential. If you bring a horse that is pushy on the ground when leading, I'm not going to tune your horse up; I'm going to spend time re-educating your horse on how to respond to the handler's energy & to allow space between both horse & handler for a much more pleasant experience. If you bring a horse that is stiff in the bridle, I'm not going to tune your horse up; I'm going to spend time re-educating your horse on how to soften & follow a feel both laterally & vertically. If you bring a spooky horse, I'm not going to tune your horse up; I'm going to spend time re-educating your horse how to respond to pressure & different objects more confidently. See a pattern here? I'm going to work on reaching a higher potential with your horse through the use of feel, timing, & balance, not through the use of fear.
Of course, people use different terminology than I do & they also do a fantastic job, but I hope this sheds some light on why I use the wording that I do.