• Body language is super important, on the ground and under saddle. Being able to recognize how my body is moving and to be able to control it, is something I continue to work on.
• Training needs empathy. I found that out working with two special mares. Both were different from each other, but both needed me to “listen” to them and consider them before they were willing to follow me.
• Jumping in an English saddle is way more fun that in a western saddle (don’t ask).
• Learning to sit still on a horse means that you have to move a lot! Bet most riding instructors do not start by telling you that.
• Training gaited horses to gait is simple and yet complicated. I am continuing to learn how to keep it simple for people to learn.
• Focusing on goals is a very quick way to lose track of what you are accomplishing. I have a tendency to over focus on my goals and, as I have seen over and over, when I do this, I lose sight of the relationship I have with my horse.
• Always go back to playing with your horse. This is one of the cures for over focusing. Find something that you and your horse enjoy, that is not too demanding, and do it and have fun!
• Horses do not care how much you know, until they know how much YOU care about them.
• Stopping “to smell the roses” is a great way to take a break. When I am working with a horse and I think they need time to think about things, not only do I stop what I am doing, I also stand still, face away from the horse, and listen to the wind/birds and feel the air flowing around me. I focus on my senses, what is going on around me, and not my horse. I find that this is super relaxing and helps me be aware of my focus. Imagine you are in a movie and everything is whirling around you; you are aware of it all, but you stand still, a bit of calm in the midst of a storm. This ability to maintain calm is one of the biggest things I have learned this year.
Here is a quote for the years end:
“[You can connect with your horse if] you do nothing more than just appear, if you want no more and do not have to prove anything else, if you want to neither be good nor bad, if you simply trust that what has to happen will happen, and if you know the horse by your side so well and understand him almost better than yourself.”
~Klaus Ferdinand Hempfling~
Happy New Year!