It doesn’t matter whether you ride for fun, at higher level or discipline. We always have certain expectations of our horses. We want them to be connected, ask questions,
responsive, trying etc. But we also want them to be fit and supple.
But what about them as learners?
A couple of years ago I started to asks myself “ Am I expecting the same of myself as I do of my horse?”.
We tend to ask so much of our horses but we may not be asking the same of ourselves.
So I thought how can I ask my horse to e.g. be braver if I am not prepared to be braver myself, be fitter and balanced if I am not prepared to put some effort into becoming fitter and balanced.
Who often do you asks your horse to do something that you wouldn’t do yourself?
I felt that I was not being a partner equally as I am asking my horse to be. I continuously ask and expect my horse to develop himself mentally, emotionally and physically. So I should also continue to develop myself.
Often horses might get worried about what you are asking them to do especially when it comes to things that are more challenging such as jumping, going through a ditch or going in water. But this doesn’t always have to do with their own confidence but also how you are feeling. If you are worried, not convinced or confident about doing something your horse is less likely to do it.
So next time when things are not going well ask yourself how you are feeling about what you are asking your horse to do.
I for instance do not like riding on the road, not because I do not trust my horses but I do not trust the car drivers. I have noticed that my horses too, don’t like riding out on the road. They are not unconfident but I just notice how they are weary about things. I think that has to do with my change in focus and weariness of others and cars. But when I go to the woods, they are great and confident. Because I love riding in the woods.
So for my horses to become better when riding on the road, I need to find out how I can become more comfortable riding on the road.
I think the mental and emotional fitness is an important part, especially when we are asking our horses to be focused and trying.
You might remember when you were learning something new. You might have gotten frustrated, distracted, bored etc. Horses can also get frustrated, distracted and bored when we are teaching them new things. Some find it easier to learn, other’s get worried when learning and some find it difficult to focus.
But how do you feel about learning?
And how do you feel when your horse does get frustrated, bored or distracted?
Can you stay focused and give your horse the time he needs?
Because we often seem quite distant such as worrying about the future, thinking about what happened yesterday, waiting on a phone call. These are all distractions and your horse will be aware of those.
Spend the time you have with your horse just being in the moment, thinking about what you are doing with him.
We are the one’s that want the relationship with the horse, we expect but are we also ready to give the horse what he needs and expects from us.