When teaching students to ride I try to give them the one tool that will always give them the upper hand with their horsemanship, projection. Projection is riding with a plan. When you get ready to go about your day, you leave with a planned course. This should also apply when you ride your horse. Projection can work in every part of your experience with your horse. If you keep your mind set on a planned course by staying one step ahead of the current task, you will find your horse will likely follow without hesitation into whatever you may be asking of them. This tool is a wonderful thing in competition when you really need your horse to focus. I find if the horse I'm riding can't seem to focus or has no confidence in what is being asked, I focus ahead of what I want. In other words, lets take a typical experience on. The horse that you are riding plays the role of the "big chicken," it wont cross a creek even though all the other horses in front have gone on. It, whirls, side passes, rears, all while the rider stares intently at the back of the horses head, the ground around the horse, or at the creek itself. This is a common mistake made by many a rider. Instead the rider should put all of their intent and energy across the creek. Its like in your mind you have already contently crossed the creek and moved on. Keep your horses nose focused on the direction you want, remember to use your legs and reins to keep the horses feet pointed in the direction you want. Keep your focus on the other side, allowing your horse to creep up to the waters edge letting them smell and touch with their nose. Reward any effort but keep your intent on the other side of the obstacle. By making yourself leave the area, the horse will instinctively want to follow that idea. They are herd animals, and even though you are on their back, if your are not there with a mental placement somewhere else, they will want to leave and move on. This idea can be used in so many instances of riding its endless. Transition changes, training sessions, trail riding, the list goes on and on. But, this can also back fire if the projection is used in a incorrect manner. You can spook a horse if you ride with the mindset of what I like to call the "henny penny syndrome" the sky is falling! If you get on your horse with a pre-loaded schedule of negative events, you can bet that horse with gladly follow up with a list of mayhem that you have already projected to them. This is a simple idea that can be practiced with any horse no matter what level of training.