Terry had this to say about Jacob:
Jacob is a good gelding with a fair amount of try. His biggest issues stem from years prior to SAFE when he learned to evade any pressure put on him. Like any young horse he has at times tested the leadership of his handlers. Most likely, as a young horse, he found that he could intimidate or pressure people to move out of his way. He had a bit of a wake-up call during SAFE’s colt starting clinic when he discovered that he can no longer use this method to control the situation. The hard part as a horseman is taking on the trouble others have put into the horses that come into SAFE. At times, in order to help them get to the other side of trouble, one must be courageous and firm with boundaries. You simply can’t kiss and hug them into acting safely around people. An understanding has to be found that peace is available when they accept the “good deal” presented to them by the handler.
Jacob is one of those horses with “hidden troubles”. On the surface, as long as nothing is asked of him that requires him to give to more pressure that he feels is okay, he is fairly easy to get along with on the ground. Leaving trouble spots like this in a horse can quickly become a very dangerous situation. Working around them or “surface” working them, can leave this danger inside and will eventually come out in an unpleasant experience. This happens all the time when you go to a show or a clinic and you have a horse that is acting “naughty”. Often you may hear the handler say things such as, “He is never like this at home.” Unfortunately, that is not the case. There are things at that at home are not being addressed and are coming to the surface in environments that add a level of stress different than at home. At a clinic years ago, I asked Buck Brannaman for activities that can be done at home to help this issue. One of his suggestions was to make sure the horse knows how to go up and down through the gaits off of “feel” and learns to connect more to the handler’s “feel” than other distractions. The more they are asked to be with you, the more you can support them when external stress adds energy. The more they think you are the “most interesting thing in the room,” the more likely they will look to you for how to respond in situations that worry them.
It did not take much for Jacob to choose the good deal presented but it is essential that anyone handling him have consistency about this acceptance of pressure. Over the next months it is important that he always hears and feels the same level of support from people around him. As the winter progresses we will get him less dull and more responsive than reactive. He should make a lovely recreational riding horse. We plan on starting him as a riding horse in the spring of this year.