My very wise friend said something the other day that really resonated with me.
“In order to change the horses body language we need to change the riders body language.”
If you’re stiff, tight and full of tension when you ride how do you think that transfers to your horse? It’s probably also tense and stiff.
If you’re weak, a bit wishy washy and lacking some oomph what do you think that says to your horse? It probably means he’s meandering along not really moving with purpose.
I completely accept and understand that a substantial element of this can be related to our mental state. If you’re feeling tense, stressed or lethargic it can be hard to hide that within your riding.
That is certainly something we need to deal with before we get on if we don’t want it to affect our ride.
- Have a pre ride routine. A physical warm up is good to prepare both body and mind to ride well.
- Pack away all your other thoughts into an imaginary box-you can unpack them and deal with them after your ride.
- Have a plan for your ride so you really focus on what you want to achieve. Often the simplest thing can be just focusing on accuracy-I said simple not easy! Ride the straightest lines you can, make transitions or movements right on the letters. This will help to focus your brain on the task in hand.
However it is not just the mental state that affects how your body reacts and feels when you ride.
If you aren’t balanced you will either be wobbling all over the place or tense and clinging on.
If you aren’t fit enough to sustain your effort for the full duration of your ride, you won’t be giving clear, intentional aids. You will perhaps feel like a heavier weight to your horse which means he will have to work harder to carry you.
This is why it’s important to be fit and strong enough to ride.
If you ride light, well balanced and with enough muscle tension to have control of your body this will transfer to your horse. If you can also get your head in the game you’re going to be a winning combination.