Our horses can only be as good as what we bring to the saddle or are everything we bring into the saddle.
They can be made deaf through over use of hand, seat and legs aids that make no sense to them.
The opposite effect can be what I term as a horse getting on the high side, meaning nervous , unsettled or reactive.
The presence of each effect is going to depend on how a horse is wired and/or the history an individual has had in it's life experiences, from the environments they live in, to the training and/ or breaking they have received.
Note: Physical pain can also bring about either of these behaviors.
Time and time again I witness situations when a horse is in pain for many reasons such as ill fitting or pain inducing equipment, poor horsemanship, lameness issue, etc.
Yet the owners time, and time again will argue that nothing is wrong when the horse is screaming through it's body language and /or physical shape .
So who is really the deaf one here??
Another common factor that effects a horses listening abilities is what are the emotions is one bringing into the saddle and communicating through their aids to the horse.
Horses are wonderfully emotional creatures and I have learned are the best of listeners when everything is honest, fair and has clarity in meaning.
It's all to often the horse gets the blame for what happens when working with them , so who really is the over sensitive one?
It's the bigger person inside that will step up and ask '' what am I doing?", and try to correct themselves to help the horse perform better.