Okay so I know the title sounds selfish but it’s actually the opposite.
Lately..since the Western Dressage event I’ve really been focused on what I need to change in myself to make our time together more dynamic and meaningful.
I’m really focusing hard on changing myself and keeping myself in check. Our sessions since Western Dressage have been going good and I realized our last ride out wasn’t a fluke because it happened again for us today.
The other day when we went out Kelly and I worked our horses on the ground then on horseback working on our Western Dressage homework, then we hit the little trail we have. The horses stepped out wonderfully. Kiko and Blue just have awesome energy together and seem to help each other every step of the way kind of like Kelly and I do. It’s positive, reinforcing, encouraging chemistry and our horses seem to have the same effect on each other as well which is super helpful.
Kiko and I did kind of start on our old ways getting into directional spats and little tiffs on speed but I stopped somehow and remembered my Western Dressage training and thought…no, we are better then this together, so why can’t we be as great on a trail as we are in a clinic.
So I focused on what I was doing….same ol shit….is what I came up with and that’s what needs to change, I was doing my same ol stuff and he was responding with his same ol stuff and I was like hell no! We have come to far to keep this up. So, I changed everything.
I fixed my posture, specifically that I wasn’t crunched in the midsection since that takes away from me projecting my energy, double checked my relaxation in my legs (bad habit of getting tight on this girls part) took my reins in a bit and made sure I wasn’t getting in his way. Focused on using both inside and outside reins and using my up instead of back when asking for a direction with the halter.
He responded like a pro! That was such a great day and I was so happy and satisfied with the time with my horse, he seemed happy about it too even more puppy dog then he usually is after I let him out in pasture.
I was trying not to get a big head about it though…one super awesome ride doesn’t mean the next will be the same as we all know as horsemen.
Today showed me we are changing and it’s because I am changing and putting more into the relationship than I did before and my horse is giving me more because of that.
It started right away though today, unlike the other day I knew I was a little off feeling because of my sinuses so I wanted to be as presant as possible for him, so I checked myself at the gates this time.
He wanted to play chase me today…I used to get exasperated with him in the past, I would try to pretend I wasn’t annoyed and force myself to smile when we were playing the catch me game as he snickered as he runs past me. Today, I just said well HE thinks this is funny so get into it! I threw myself into the game and to my surprise I was able to influence his behavior from over 50 yards away! I’ve never been able to do that before. It was like my energy would go like 20 feet and fall to the ground like glitter. Not today. I was laughing and smiling and just going back and forth with it, all the horses eventually got in on it and were running around with him kicking up and nipping at eachother, they were having SUCH a great time.
When he was tired of the game he came up to me to be haltered and we got all groomed up and saddled. Did some ground games and mounted and did some circles. Did we get them perfect? No…but we changed it up a lot and after a while he was showing me things he wanted to do, like put both feet in the tire and try to rotate around it. That was pretty cool in my opinion, it’s like he just got we had a focus today and was trying to let me know what he could do for me since we weren’t on a strict program.
We rode out in the pasture which is currently closed for them to let the grass grow out before turning them on it and the first thing we did was cross the bridge.
Normally, before when crossing water or a bridge I would have all sorts of anxiety and wait super long between asking for more, I would almost panic thinking we wouldn’t be able to cross without me getting off but not today. I was actually smiling inside myself thinking what he was thinking. I’ve seen this before, but not in a long time and I have a rider and it could be bad…and I was truly calm inside..not faking myself calm but actually calm telling him we have all the time in the world but I was quicker at asking again..In my head I just kept saying okay, approach it, okay sniff it, okay put a foot on it, okay snort at it but can we try again? And we were over and I let him eat grass while we waited for Blue and Kelly to process the bridge.
The next change was out in the pasture, we went everywhere so easily, we even tried to flush out some turkeys but they had the drop on us. We would start to trot because Kiko wanted to go but we have got to consider Blue..being a wild colt still in training we have to have the responsibility of making sure what we are doing is in line with how far along Kelly and Blue are…which is far but we want to be aware we aren’t influencing anything that could cause an explosion.
We would start trotting and what I noticed I was focusing on was I wasn’t stopping him for me anymore, I wasn’t focused on stopping him because I was afraid we might go all freak and I wouldn’t be able to stop or have an effect on him. I would let him trot a few steps and bring him back down with my energy instead of using my reins or bracing in my legs, in fact, I was making sure my legs were totally relaxed and completely out of his way. I even got two walk to canter transitions out of him when I asked.
It was so much easier…I think for both of us and it had no effect on Blue at all and honestly, it felt really really good, we felt good, we were happy and he was super cuddly again after another successful day.
I’m almost ashamed it’s taken me 2 1/2 years to realize all that needed to change was me but then I remember some people are in that boat for the entire time they are into horses…not trying to be snide, just trying to think honestly about horsemanship. Horses allow us to be dumb-asses and they just put up with it, it’s sadly true. I could have very easily been one of those people cycling thru horses until I found one that had the least amount of resistance to my crap…but I’m lucky, my mind has been opened, my friends are on the never ending journey to better themselves and their horsemanship, I have the best horse trainer mentor in the world in my opinion & I just can’t see a reason that I shouldn’t change and try harder all the time for my horse. He’s always trying for me, I love him and he’s worth it, we are worth it so to do anything less just wouldn’t sit well with me at this point.
Changing myself by focusing on me is no big deal if it means I can give more to my horse. I am a horseman, I see how much they give us, I can’t imagine at this point in my life, giving anything less than my all. I love this being, this soul more than I can describe so giving him everything I’m capable of only makes sense and thinking about that makes my heart warm because the possibilities are truly endless if we just keep trying.