Saturday, 14 November 2015

Day 318: Saturday in the rain. Fine line between constructive focus and over-analysis.

Hacking out all the ponies whose riders missed their lessons today! Rain and wind kept most of my today's riders home.

There is this kind of internal focus that is best developed in less than perfect conditions. I think it is a relevant skill for both horse and a rider.
Some have it somewhat naturally or it is easy to bring it out in them, some would really benefit from working on it, understand it and use it to further develop communication with the horse.

That internal focus not only lets the rider feel more (through simply being more attentive) but it allows for much lighter and more accurately timed aids. I saw an interesting quote today which went something like this: "Funny that, the less strength I put in my aids, the more the horse wants to listen" (I paraphrase as can't find the quote now!). It says something important though - when we hear someone whisper and we want to hear them, we go quiet and still and really listen. I believe it is the same with horses, if we "shout" at them with our communication, they switch off and are no longer interested in hearing us at all.

I can't say I like teaching in the rain and wind very much but as long as it's not too cold and I have the right clothes, there are many worse conditions I can think of!
For one - it makes me save my voice and only say necessary things. I tend to give too much guidance at times and when my voice just trails away with the wind and  rider does a great job anyway I take it as a lesson learnt.

My morning rider is a very focused rider, she rides with very good intuition and I try to train some bad habits out of her without destroying any feel and self-taught ability she has. I think there is always a fine line between directing an experienced rider's attention to something that needs tweaking without making them overly focused on "something that doesn't work well".

Sometimes it's like horse training - repetition of good, makes better.
I always struggled with Rubik cube, you know. I would get one wall of colour done just to mess it up minutes later trying to get another colour done. Then I would watch with frustration when my brother took few minutes to gather all the colours together.
As I watch the rider and the mare repeating their patterns in the arena I know she and many other of riders I teach are the one "Rubik cube" I see in the same way as my brother "saw" the real one. I like to mix "the colours" and make a little mess but then put all the "walls" together in the end. It's addictive ;)

Afternoon with another very focused rider. I really do believe that the difference between a good and a very good rider (and a good and a very good horse) is not some elusive talent (although it helps) but the ability to fully be in the moment, fully direct attention to movement and task without over thinking, over analysing, over-tensing. 

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