Training the Mind of the Horse and Rider

Training the Mind of the Horse and Rider
Click on Logo (Original artwork by Lanie Frick for Messick Quarter Horses. Not permitted to be copied)

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Barn Procedures and Lessons Begins

Last week was the AAHS, the American Association of Horsemanship Safety, Clinic at the Calvin Center in Hampton, Georgia. Brenda H is a very knowledgeable instructor. I appreciated how she presented the information and her willingness to listen to other’s opinions. Gretchen was a wonderful host. I enjoyed catching up with her and watching her ride her beautiful horse, Rainbow. I’ve missed seeing Gretchen and having her here to ride Bubba.

We were extremely busy, from early morning until very late at night, some nights to midnight! The material covered under the topics of Safety and Liability was very informative and important to know. Our lives are forever changed. Even though I have always considered safety and liability, now there are more areas to insure that everyone is safe. I will never forget the helmet video, Every Ride Every Time, that I watched. If anyone wants to see it, it is about 10 minutes long and I will always have it in my horse trailer to show. It will forever change your life. Helmets are important and will change lives, forever.

We learned the importance of a Procedures Manual for the barn. Even if you don’t have a riding or training program, I would encourage you to work on procedures for yourself, and for your friends and family who come to your barn and are around your horses. They need to know how to handle the horse safely and correctly, among other areas of care, like feeding, cleaning stalls, watering, and grooming. The Procedures Manual is an easy way for anyone who is there to do chores, or just coming out to ride, to refer to if they have a question about how to do something.

Lessons will always have a Lesson Plan behind them. Since I give lessons, I will work on this area with a lot of detail. But once again, everyone can do a Lesson Plan for them self. Lesson Plans can help you figure out what you want to learn, then work on that area step by step. Having a plan saves on feeling the frustrations that we feel when we start practicing and nothing is coming together correctly. Once we look at an area that we want to work on, then we break the area down into steps. We think about the how to perform each step. We learn each step one at a time, and we don’t go onto the next step until the previous step is learned correctly. That is the key to learning to ride correctly, and teaching your horse! Do not go onto the next step until you have learned the previous step correctly! Look how much easier it will be to learn. Look how less frustrated you and your horse will be. There is no time frame. Take as much time as you and your horse need. You will be amazed at how much more you and your horse will learn in a shorter amount of time! The journey has begun for you!

I wished we had had more horse time and ride time at the clinic!

Terri, Gretchen and I were able to take a short trail ride before the week started.

But there was just enough hours in the day. I think if we had done 1 more thing, we would have dropped by Friday and would have had no energy for the test on Saturday! We did go back to the barn the first night to practice riding, but with reading assignments each night, quizzes each morning, lesson plans to write, and a practice exam to go through, as well as prepare for the exam on the 5th day, we didn’t elect to go back to the barn again. But we definitely needed the practice time.

I did get my CPR/First Aid certification also, which I need for both this AAHA certification and also for Centered Riding. It was only another 1/2 day in the classroom and 2 more tests! I have no brain left. But I am excited to have recertified and someday, may need to help someone. On the plane ride home, I swallowed a Vitamin C drop, whole, and thought, oh no, am I going to choke! Luckily, the drop continued down and I could relax and breathe. Whew!

This week at home is going to be process week. I think I need to time to think. I will apply what I have learned in my lessons. We were taught 9 Secure Seat skills that I will be teaching, as well as the Centered Riding exercises. With the skills taught, you can't help to develop into a balanced rider, with a secure seat and leg. Now it takes practice time.

And it also take observation time. You may think that you are correct, but it takes another’s eyes to see you. If you are lucky to have mirrors in your barn, then you can see yourself, but someone needs to still see how you are flowing with the horse. I feel that I know how to ride well, and that I know horses well and can read them. One comment to me from the instructor was that I appear as if I’m riding for the show pen. She seemed to imply that I don’t know what to do when the horse does something. What? That comment threw me, and as I sat back and listened to her, I thought to myself, “what do people see when they see me ride?” Sure, the camp horses are old, some are stiff, and some don’t give to the bit, but we weren’t there to tune on the horses. If they came off the rail, I took them back to the rail quietly. I used my hands and leg cues, but I didn’t do it with a lot of movement either. To make myself feel better, I thought to myself, “Are my cues so light that no one sees them? Are my cues strong enough? Do I need to show that I am doing more with my body?” “Do I need to show what I am doing?”

I know that I used to ride without much movement, from sitting quietly for the show pen. But that has changed this last year. My joints are freer and my hips move. I allow my body to move with the movement of the horse. I think what happened to me was that I was at this clinic, learning a new way, and forgot about my Centered Riding. I rode and did what the instructor wanted, trying to do it perfect, and went back to my old way of sitting too quiet. I allowed my hips to move in the Following Seat, but I know I didn’t stand in 2 point and allow my knees to be Dancing Knees. This was an important lesson for me. Do not forget to keep moving with your horse. Relax and allow your body to stay centered, no matter what you are asking of you and your horse.

“Embrace the Journey!” I know I have.


Good Hands said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and memories, helps me to go through it all again, and the pictures, too! I had almost forgotten that first trail ride we went on, oh the innocents we were then! :-)

I am supposed to be designing marketing materials. My brain is completely fried. I am going to eat ice cream and watch tv on the couch. Tomorrow morning will see me hard back at work, but only then!

Horses Are Our Lives said...

I know, that trail ride seemed a long time ago! Oh, my brain is fried too. I could hardly exist all morning, but drank enough coffee to put these thoughts down. I still need time to process before I try to write any more! I couldn't even come up with new ideas for pamplets if I tried! I'm watching America's Got Talent!


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