Whenever I work with a horse, my ultimate goal is to have the horse adopt what I call the “okidoki attitude.” The okidoki attitude is when you say to your horse “Horse! Let’s go for a ride.” “Okidoki,” is his answer. “Horse? Let’s cross this bridge.” “Okidoki,” he says. “Hey horse, let’s cross this creek here.” “Okily-dokily,” says horsey. This is what working with horses should be like all the time. This is the goal we are striving for. It is the calm, willing attitude of our partner, who will do whatever we ask of him, every time we ask it.
The opposite of the okidoki attitude is the “not so much” attitude. This is when a red flag goes up. It happens when I’m working with a horse, and I ask him to do something, and he says “mmmm, not so much.” When this happens, I make a mental note of it, and then figure out a way, using natural horsemanship, to get back to that okidoki attitude. This might include: going back to a stage where he was more comfortable, and working back up to what I am asking; or it might just mean keeping the pressure on until he decided it’s easier to change his attitude than to live with the pressure.
The “okidoki attitude” includes: not spooking, coming when I call, standing still to be saddled, mounted, etc., not crowding into me, walking into the trailer when asked, and just having a willing attitude in general. There are many steps to get to the “okidoki attitude” but they are well worth it. Taking the time to teach your horse something the right way is always better than just getting them to do it this once, with no regard for the horse’s future response/attitude. For example, forcing a horse into the trailer who does not want to get on willingly is only gonig to create more problems for you the next time. Taking the time to teach him to go on with “okidoki attitude” will ensure that all future trailer trips are relaxing and enjoyable.
All in all, the “olidoki attitude” is something I keep in the back of my mind at all times when working with horses. It is the goal I strive toward in all aspects of horse handling and riding, and it is what makes being around horses so much fun.