Train your communication

Horses respond and take instructions from us via our body language and cues.

These can be on the ground whether just moving your horse around, doing schooling in hand and of course when on board.

Think about how some horses will move back or over just by you moving your body towards them with the intention of asking them to do that.

We give aids with our voice, hand, leg or whip. How we do that, what tone, energy or how accurately we do that impacts the outcome.

If we aren’t aware of our body language we can be giving mixed messages and be unaware that we are doing so.

When I’m working with riders we will often do exercises that although not difficult from a muscular strength view they are focused on precision from the movement of limbs and being aware of what separate parts are doing. When we’re doing regular exercises I will ask whether there is equal weight in the feet, are they level? If we do an exercise that involves stepping a foot out, does it land in line with the other foot or slightly ahead or behind?

Can you land feet level without having to look down and check?

If you do an exercise involving your legs and arms are you aware of what is happening with both of them? If you did a side lunge with your hands as if holding reins, do they stay still or move closer or further away?

Are you aware of how you stand when just watching or talking? Do you put more weight on one leg, do you habitually cross your arms in a closed posture or are you in an open posture? The positions themselves are not wrong it’s just being aware that you are doing them that is key.

Off horse training isn’t all about getting stronger, it’s also about being more in tune with your body and being able to use that information to communicate with your horse more effectively.

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