Even though you can’t be a great rider without lots of practice and being in decent shape, I still claim that over 50% of the sport is mental. That being said, I had a good ‘reset’ lesson on Tuesday night to address some of the communication issues with my horse. I won’t bore you with the tiny details of the lesson, because it wasn’t that exciting, but I will share some of my take aways.
I do group lessons weekly, but sometimes having some one on one time is really good for some good ‘ol equine relationship counseling. Even if my trainer didn’t say all of these things to me, riding with someone knowledgeable watching/checking/helping me tends to open up my eyes.
- Demanding a notch above my horse’s comfort level of performance is a really bad plan when he’s already hot or anxious
- Progress when working with horses is not always linear, and that’s okay. Just because he did something well last week does not necessarily mean he will do it well this week… and don’t get mad if he doesn’t.
- Don’t get mad at all. Simon is not dropping his shoulder in the corners because he is personally offended by my riding… he’s just green.
- Praise. Even when the ride is going really poorly, find something to praise on. If I can’t let my reins go at the moment, it needs to be with my voice. If we’re done with something and walking for a bit… pet him and let him have loose reins for a few minutes.
- My horse doesn’t have to be perfect every second of every ride for it to be a learning experience.
- Simon doesn’t give a shit if he ever goes to an A show. He has 0 goals and aspirations, so I need to remember that all he cares about is being brought up fairly and as correctly as I can.
What kind of ‘ah-ha’s do you get from lessons?