There’s no App for this…
Like a carpenter or mechanic, we also use tools when we train our horses. In our field, however, our most important tools are our hands and our minds. A fancy new halter or some other shiny new piece of equipment is not a fix-all and will never be able to replace timing, feel or mindset. And building these mental and physical skills (or tools) can be challenging. After all, what exactly is ‘feel’ for example, and where is the ‘3-easy-steps’ guide to get it? Spoiler: there is no App for this!
Build a routine
Think about the great trainers or riders you look up to and admire. What is it that makes them so good? When asking myself this question, I noticed that one thing those great horsemen, trainers and riders share is a highly developed sense of awareness. They spend a lot of time and diligence honing and developing their own skills and their own ‘tools’, outside of the arena as well. Of course, every rider or trainer has their own way of developing this; from breathing techniques to meditation to yoga, and all kinds of other mental and physical practices. Study the routines your equestrian role models develop and how & why this works for them. Then go and find out what works for you! On the mental side, the more self-awareness we have, the more congruence I think the horse will feel from us; which will help to make our communication with our horses clearer and create a deeper connection (more on congruence and incongruence in my previous blog ‘Help, my once-in-a-lifetime horse has come and gone already’!😉)
Miles on the clock
Just as there is no substitute for our own training skills, there is also no substitute for spending time in the saddle and putting ‘miles on the clock’. So get your hands on as many different horses as you can to hone your timing and your feel (and the more different horses the better, that really does make a difference here); and rack up those frequent flyer miles. This takes time, so take the time it takes and don’t get sucked into the negative spiral of perfectionism.
Ride from the inside-out!
Huh, what does she mean with that? In author John Haime’s wonderful book Ride Big, I read this wonderful analogy that I would love to share with you here. You can ride – or live – from the outside-in, meaning that outside influences you can no control over (such as what other people might say) control your inner voice, and as a result impact your whole way of riding and training. Your confidence, and as a result your whole person, will shrink. So what would the opposite look like? Riding – or living – from the inside-out means you use your inner values, compass and intuition to guide you. As a result, your confidence grows bigger, radiating out and influencing all around you – and your horse as well. So which option sounds better to you?
This is all such incredibly interesting stuff, I could literally read and talk about this for hours. But I would love to hear from you! Which part of this blog (if any 😛 ) resonated with you? And what are some of the ways you like to develop your mental and physical ‘tools’?
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