The SET Method
...is a highly effective training system that is grounded in the same techniques horses use when they train each other.
Q: How do horses train each other?
1: Using body language. Theirs is an ancient language of movement, based on the application of mental and physical pressure. Equine body language is repetitive pattern-driven communication.
• Handlers/riders who learn to read and apply this body language can easily and effectively communicate their desires to their equine teammate.
2: Through hierarchy. Horse herd leaders make demands of subordinates.
• When handlers become effective and trustworthy leaders, horses view them from a profound, totally effective and highly communicative perspective.
©Dee Janelle, SET Publications
Once this foundation is understood by the handler/rider,
the training progresses to produce lightness in the horse
through these five elements:
Soft, Round, Through, Self-Carried, and Connected.
• Soft = The utter lack of brace throughout the horse's body which leads to relaxation, acceptance, and ultimate ride-ability.
• Round = The horse (not the rider) pulling both ends of the nuchal and supraspinous ligaments toward the horse's center of balance using various muscle groups to create an arch in the body from the base of the tail to the withers and from the withers to the poll. Roundness is the first step toward engagement of the hindquarters, which produces pushing and carrying from behind. This leads to...
• Through = The horse traveling powerfully from the hindquarters to the forequarters, by coming energetically forward from their engine, through their back and ribs to the withers and traveling up, and out in front of the poll. Which leads to...
• Self-Carried = Soft, Round, Through combined and maintained BY THE HORSE, not forced by any rider effort. True self-carriage (made up by the three previous necessities) cannot be obtained by pushing with the rider's legs into the rider's pulling, holding, or tense hands on the horse's mouth.
• Connected = The horse, in communication with the rider, receives calm, simple, and easy to understand answers to any questions or concerns they may have. The end result is the rider receives the correct response to any aid they apply.