Subject: Spring is in the air, time for growth

The Horse Fellowship, LLC
Riding and Learning Together
Keep it simple, repeat often, always smile, give your best
Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.
-Mahatma Gandhi 
What we think about when we ride will make all the difference.  Believe in both yourself and your horse, for greatness is always there, just waiting to flow freely.
Spring is in the air, time for sowing & shedding
I have been studying a lot lately. Something I do each winter, a time when I afford myself personal growth in new areas. This winter I decided to study myself. When I decided this topic I honestly didn't know what I would find. I new there were a few habits I needed to change, but I wasn't prepared to discover a treasure mine. I have realized I am much more than I had imagined, which is funny because Robert and I say to each and every client we work with that their horse and their possibilities are much more than they can imagine. We believe that once you better know yourself and your horse you will do amazing things. Well, we were right, but we didn't know that so much more is possible.

One of the things that hit me hard was that I had been lying to myself, I had been saying that I can't, when I can. I was amazed and still am at how I allow the outside circumstances to convinced me to stop in my tracks or take a turn on a not so rewarding scenic route, one I had been on so many times before and was very comfortable. The lies will probably sound familiar to some of you. I do not have time, I do not have the money, I do not know how, it is too cold, it is too hot, I do not feel like it, or it is not that important. I learned that what I was “feeling” not really true, it wasn't what or who I truly am or wanted, it was a character that I had spent a lot of time developing that I am now choosing to caste aside.

Do you fear sickness more than you love health? Do you fear poverty more than you love wealth? Do you fear being wrong more than you love learning? Do you fear discomfort more than you love growth and deeper connection?

I realized that my old character, in self preservation, feared more than I loved in many areas of my life.

Now, I love horses, horsemanship and teaching and that has been my saving grace. It was the one thing that caused me to look to myself, because I really wanted to excel in these areas of my life. How cool it was for me to learn that I was my only obstacle. Wow, Freedom. Wow, Joy. Wow, Love. Wow, fun.

I was watching Dale Rumens-Partee teach a Cowboy Dressage clinic and I heard her say several times, stop, that is good, reward your horse, and then start again. I had said and heard this so many times, but this time, I saw a different meaning in “then start again”. So many times I have started again hanging on the the past of just 5 seconds ago or 5 months ago, knowing full well that the reward could change the horse if I didn't ride him as he was in the past.

This is key to success in changing and exceling. We need to leave the past completely behind and become a different horseman and this may be just one small habit. And through our changes, the horse will change more easily. When we change first, our horse will follow. When we try to push the horse to change first, then we just build resistance. For me it is all about kinship. A trusting relationship with my horse starts with a trust in myself, and really liking myself. Here are some very important ideas to think about to improve your horsemanship and achieve your goals.
  1. Have in mind what you want. If you do not, take time to study. In my opinion, this is where most people fall short. You may want to learn a leg yield. If you do not know in your mind what it should look like, it will be incredibly hard to produce it horseback. I suggest watching videos, reading books, visualizing yourself doing it, and even practicing it without your horse. Get into the feeling of it first.
  2. Set yourself up for success and make sure that when you are working on your improved or new movement that all the necessary elements to achieve your desired movement are understandable by you and your horse. For example if you are going to begin leg yielding, can you easily move your horse's hind feet and front feet one at time in the saddle at the stand still? Does your horse give to your reins and legs? Does your horse understand your seat? Break the new movement down into small steps.
  3. Believe you can do it, and never never doubt. This one is simple to understand, but not easy to do.
  4. Be honest with yourself. What ever you think in the deepest part of yourself, not necessarily what you are saying to yourself, is what you will create in your results. This is where it is important to sometimes stop, refocus and start again, when you realize you are pushing and working hard to make it happen and it is your old self coming through. Be patient, as this is one of the qualities that will be developed in you as you learn something new
  5. When you get a try, reward your horse, and then start again. It is very easy to bring the past forward when learning new movements, even if you are working on getting your horse to be more responsive to your legs. You have to change your habits, and it is important to start again from the image you have in your mind, not from the results that you just got or have gotten. Do not look at your current results as an indicator of what is possible, only look at them as a way to observe, compare and then adjust. You must think for sure, but think forward, not in reverse.
  6. Confidence is created through the repetition of doing, so repeat often as this is sowing and you will soon reap the rewards. It take courage to begin to learn something new, for you do not know how to do it completely until you achieve it. You will be stepping into an unknown for both you and your horse, but this is where trust is built, and greater kinship is developed. It is so worth it.
As always, Happy Trails,
Visit our Youtube channel for ideas on movements to grow your communication with your horse.  

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The Horse Fellowship LLC
Robert and Janet Phinney
PO Box 4, Dayton, WA 99328, United States
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