Brushing – Your hair, your teeth, your dog/cat/horse,
Horse stuff – Brush. Put on saddle or bridle from other side. Put on rugs from other side. Mount to ride from other side. Fill haynets. Carry buckets. Poo pick stable or field. Lead your horse from other side.
Writing & Computers – Computer mouse, using tablet or mobile phone screen. Writing notes or shopping lists. Turning the page on a book,
Clothing– Putting on your jacket with other arm first. Putting on trousers with other foot first,
Household skills– Carrying cups and plates. Sitting on sofa with legs tucked under you. Dishing out food onto plates. Washing up. Cleaning windows. Vacuuming. Sweeping a yard. Using a rake in the garden. Dusting or cleaning.
Arts & Crafts–Painting a wall or a picture. Try sewing,
And many many other tasks…keep finding things to try out.
Practise makes Progress. The more you try the easier it becomes.
How are you doing? are you managing some or all of the tasks? Have you found yourself getting better with practice? are somethings helping your whole body become more balanced? Have you done lots of things not on the lists with your OH? I hope so.
I find that by doing these things over Winter when I have time to practice that I am soon doing them throughout the year and month by month I feel much more balanced. I especially feel it when riding, my body feels and seems straighter, I can do things with both left and right sides of my body and I know that this is helping my horse to be straighter underneath me. I also highly recommend that you work on balance and straightness training for your horse so that you can both work symmetrically together.
Here are week 5’s exercises…have fun with them.
Week 5– Cleaning and Cutting skills.
Beginners:Using washing up spongue, cloth or brush with your OH. Also try using duster/cloth for cleaning house/windows. Lastly just turn the pages of your book with your OH, the little things make all the difference for working on your symmetry and brain.
Medium:Harder tasks can be trying to fill your horses haynets and poo picking your horses stables and fields (pretty hard), cutting bread and veg with OH too.
Advanced:Hard tasks of using a broom on your horses yard or a rake in your garden and also try your vacuum. Vacuuming or using a broom are great tasks as you can use 4 different position which will help with your flexibility and also trot and canter positions, here is a picture of this:
Pic 1 = Right hand / Left foot forward. A diagonal stance which helps with your trotting. Pic 2 = Right hand / Right foot forward. This stance will help balance your body for Right Canter Leads. Pic 3 = Left hand / Right foot forward. A diagonal stance again which will help with trotting. Pic 4 = Left hand / Left foot forward. Great for symmetry with Left Canter Leads.
Remember with all these vacuuming stances to keep your body straight, upright upper body and to change hands and feet to make sure you do all the stances.
The video below shows Solly and I having a very subtle conversation about body dynamics, energy, core strength, foot falls and flexion.
If you look closely you can see how all I do affects all Solly does. It’s a close, almost invisible dance of finding our inner most riding connection. Slowly, using this more, we will flow and dance more. We find our balance together and then we find our go and whoa buttons to make sure they’re working through my breathing. Soon we are finding our hips and shoulder connection and then my hands to his nose. Being able to talk to every part of his body allows me to find the softness within the strength of muscles in places I have in my thoughts. Being able to read his muscles too allows me to hear what he is saying back to me so that our dance gets more and more harmonious.
It takes a TON of focus from me so if I’m tired then I am pretty sure Solly is. We dance for short periods but as often as possible. Soon we will weave the dance tapestry to more harmony and fluidity.
Using kind consistency with our horse training is a super way of helping our horses learn, some horses love a good solid routine. But it can often become boring if overdone and some horses hate being bored SO we need to learn the art of becoming balanced between being CONSISTENT and SPONTANEOUS.
Yesterday I wanted to do something with the horses but with the weather being on/off I didn’t plan anything, in fact I didn’t even take saddles or bridles. When the weather stayed dry it was a ‘LETs DO IT’ moment and I took the opportunity and played/rode both boys with what I had….rope halter and reins for Solly and used those reins to make a cordeo for Stormy. The pics show the end of a completely spontaneous play/riding session.
What was lovely was that the boys were up for it too and because I had no plan, just wanting a good feel with everything I did, it felt GREAT. Think the boys enjoyed it too <3
Flight Checks are what I do after playing with my horse and before I ride off from the mounting block. I make sure I have brakes and can move all four feet in all four directions (forward, back, left and right). It also lets me assess whether I have a good Connection and to help the horse get balanced and flexible before riding off. If anything needs working on I will either stay with it until softer and lighter or I’ll get off and work on it from the ground.
Here is a short film of the Flight Checks I do and how they can progress. I hope it helps to remind you to offer and find the ‘light feel’ on the reins, where our weight should be and to use our focus, seat and leg aids before using the reins.
Once you and your horse can do these with lightness and no brace you will find you will need them less and less. I use them before riding off and practice them now and then but because our ‘muscle memories’ in our bodies and brains have the techniques and actions stored we can use them when necessary (ie. an emergency halt w/relaxation) but can now refine them so that my breathing out and a lift of the rein is suffice to halt. I want the muscle memories there for if and when I need them…this one rein halt will not work well if the memories aren’t there, we would both be so far removed from relaxation that it would actually cause more tension and braciness….if we can avoid that and teach ourselves and our horses to have a ‘trigger’ of relaxation when the rein is lifted then we will all be safer in an emergency situation that hopefully never happens.
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.