Balance is needed for riding, especially bareback riding but balance is also needed in others ways. We may have to think of balance between our work and leisure times, balancing our family and horsey time and also balancing our inner self with our outer self but also we must think about balancing time we train our horses, time we relax with our horses and time we have fun with horses. Balancing the time we spend with our horses, no matter what our goals, is a wise move towards a happier partnership.
Being at one with your horse is the most wonderful feeling and when it becomes instinctual you, and everyone else, won’t be able to know if your horse is following you or you are following the horse, whether online, at liberty or riding
The only way to be totally and truly ‘connected’ with your horse is to be with them in the MOMENT, what I call the ‘NOW’, this is how horses are. To be in the NOW we have to focus on what we’re doing and not thinking of the future (goal oriented), the past (history) or what others may be doing (judgemental). Once we are in the ‘now’ we can work on being harmonious in own bodies so that we can be harmonious together with our horse.
For your horse to trust you, you have to trust your horse. It can take time to accomplish this but working on a daily basis you can gain trust with small things like handling, grooming and ground work and build to ridden work. Progress can be made onto more complex tasks whether that is at liberty, online, riding lateral moves or even riding bareback and bridleless, but without you trusting your horse he will not trust you and that will hinder your progress.
Whether you’re training for a specific task, working on fitness, having agility fun or even just hanging out together you are always learning something from each other. If that learning is based on a great connection, filled with positive energy and sprinkled with achievable goals then learning is not only rewarding but fun too.
Keeping things fun can mean just that, to have FUN in your sessions with your horse, smile, laugh and enjoy each others company. Or it could mean keeping things within you and your horses abilities, that way there will be harmony in your goals. Try to find what your horse enjoys doing and improve on that, try other things too but if your horse (or you) don’t enjoy what you’re doing then there really isn’t much point. Life is too short to not have fun and enjoy what you do together.
Going at the horses pace allows us to give the ‘timeline’ to the horse and when we do this we learn that things can’t be forced. The horse has to be ready for the next step and if we build his education slowly and methodically then each next step will be easy to negotiate because the building blocks of education have been put down and we’ve waited for the horse to say that they are ready for the next one.
This fits in very well with the ‘Comfort Zone Training’ series I have just been doing here (look it up on the right side of this Blog).
It reminds us to make good habits with our horses, these habits are the backbone of your training but then you have to break that habit and make a new habit to progress your training. Breaking a habit and incorporating a new bit doesn’t mean leave the original habit behind, it just means you need to move on, even just a step or a minute more, to lengthen/widen the original habit, thereby breaking the original habit and making a new, longer, better, stronger habit.
Habits can be easy things like walking from a stable to the field. First habit would be doing it straight, then you’d break that habit and go for a little walk along a fence THEN into the field, later on you could walk along a fence, down a track and over a stream and back to get to the same field.
It could also be a habit of finding new transitions, more gaits, incorporating lateral work…everything becomes an extension from your original task
Helping our horses relax mentally, emotionally and physically through connection techniques helps them find curiosity in training. When horses are curious they have open minds to new things and experiences and if we can teach them to have that with relaxation then we have a horse that will be braver in all it does.