Mindful Riding
Posted by Irina Yastrebova on Saturday, February 17, 2018 07:52 PM
This winter I have been reading a number of wonderful books. I told you already about Mary Wanless new book in my previous blog. The other two books are "The Talent Code..." by Daniel Coyle and "Equitation Science" by P. McGreevy and A. McLean. I am on the last one and feel that I am gaining a greater insight into mindful riding. What I mean by this is approach to horses and riding from a very calm and observant state of mind. Emotions are not helpful when it comes to horses. They cloud our judgment and make us inconsistent and unbalanced mentally. The conundrum here is we chose horses because of our emotions, our love for them, our admiration for their power and beauty. These same emotions can be the drive and foundation for our desire to work with horses. However, they cannot be involved in handling and training horses on every day basis. For that we need knowledge, power of observation, experience, discipline, patience, consistency, timing and a great deal of elbow grease :)
Knowledge per se is easy to inquire through study, books, videos, seminars, workshops. Skills are built through hands on experience and practice, observation, analysis and numerous mistakes that allow us to learn from them. Discipline is needed to stay patient and consistent, to stay teacher to a horse and not a bully, it allows us to work hard on fixing small problems, insignificant at first glance. Magic happens after years and years of hard work on small stuff NOT by trying to find the latest trick in training horses.
Here are a few things that stuck with me after reading this winter:
  • Paying attention to small mistakes, correcting them, improving slowly through mindful practice (Talent Code)
  • Actually doing it, no other way to learn: mistakes are helpful, do not avoid them or skip over them (Talent Code)
  • Practice just outside of your comfort zone in order to have mistakes, in order to grow (Talent Code)
  • Mary Wanless book "Anatomy of Rider's Connection" gives you plenty of tools for "deep practice" (term from the "Talent Code" book)
  • Horses do not do things for humans because they love them but because they were trained to (Equitation Science)
  • A horse should not be submissive to your wishes but responsive to correct and consistent cues (Equitation Science)
  • When horses learn to relieve a known pressure/aid by doing a certain response it gives them a sense of control of their environment, inconsistent pressures/aids that lead to unpredictable outcomes are very stressful to horses (Equitation Science)
  • Humanizing horses is confusing at least and very dangerous and abusive to horses at most (Equitation Science)
If these ideas caught your attention I encourage you to read the books. Read slowly, digesting all the information and wisdom. Read critically, do not simply believe, agree or disagree and have reasons why.
Happy reading :)...
 
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My blog is about teaching, riding and training. I share what is important to me in my work with horses and riders. The writing helps me to think things over and have a better understanding of training ideas and priciples.
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