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)

Thursday, June 3, 2010

A Wonderful Lesson

The next LB (Light Bulb) Moment will have to wait for tomorrow. I just had the most wonderful lesson and I have to share! It is a wonderful feeling, for both me as the instructor and for the rider, when the lesson is wonderful!

The owner of the training horse came to ride. He is a little apprehensive about riding, as he is middle aged and haven’t ridden much at all, even though his wife has horses. He just loves the personality of this horse, though, and he really wants to get along with riding him. He is a motorcycle guy, and he was getting frustrated with trying to ride the horse with horse cues and not in motorcycle mode.

Something clicked with me at the AAHS clinic. Or after starting to read the Centered Riding Book 2 on the flight home from the clinic. Whatever it was, worked! Maybe it was due to the fact that I am still tired from 10 days of traveling, 1 day of being very tired here at home, and another day of deciding how to catch up with all the paperwork. When it came to lesson time, I was ready for a break. So I took things slow!

I walked the horse around as I talked about the Nature of the Horse, explaining why the horse does what he does. Then I had him mount and do a couple of exercises to work on sitting correctly. I had him stand in his stirrups and get the straight line from ear to heel. I talked about your center, and what a Tai Chi ball would feel like in your center, small but heavy. I talked about that ball spinning in our center and our center sinking into our seat. The weight of our seat should continue down into our legs and feet and sink into the ground, as we keep the sensation of feeling grounded. As he rode, I talked about the Following Seat, and had him move with the horse, allowing his hips to move freely. I had him pedal backwards and feel each side of his seat move as the horse walked. As he felt the movement and moved with the horse, the horse’s movement became freer and he moved with a deep stride. As he rode, I had him steer with his body, not just his arms. I told him to think about having flashlight beams coming out of his shoulders, waist and knees, and as he turned the horse, to turn with his body. That worked really well to help him turn the horse. He had a great time riding his horse, and the frustrations that we had a few weeks ago were no longer visible. It was an awesome lesson.

Things just clicked with me, too. I felt like that was the best lesson that I ever gave. I was relaxed and watched the rider and his horse. I gave him practice time after each step that I taught him. I know I need to work on giving the riders time to think things through and practice so that they understand the concept. It seemed to work great today. I look forward to our next lesson. Until then,

“Embrace the Journey!”

Happy Birthday to my oldest brother, Ray! Wished we weren’t so far away. Here’s wishing you many, many more years!

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