Body awareness is such an important part of working with horses. Horses may not listen to our voice, but they are always paying attention to what our
body is saying to them. In fact, it has been scientifically proven that 55% of all communication between people is completely non-verbal. That means more than half of our communication, during an interaction, is happening non verbally through our body language and energy.
Horses communicate 99% of the time through body language, so they are masters at communicating and reading body language. Often times horses are much more aware of their bodies then we are, which is why it is very common to see horses out smart their owners.
To develop a great connection with your horse, you have to become empowered in your non verbal communication skills. You have to learn how to master body awareness. Mastering body awareness is not just about being aware of what your own body is doing, it’s about learning to master what your horse is trying to tell you through its body language. It’s also about understanding how your emotions and your perception affect the way you connect, communicate and relate to your horse on a deeper level.
A women who attended one of my clinics, kept complaining about the fact that her horse wouldn’t move its front legs freely. She said that the mare felt like she was jammed up in the shoulders. As I observed the lady riding her horse around in a trot, I noticed that the lady looked very jammed up in her shoulders. I told her to start moving her shoulders in large circular shrugs as she was riding along and almost immediately the horse freed its shoulders up and lengthened its stride by bout 25 centimetres. The lady was amazed by how much her own body could affect her horse’s body. This scenario is a testament to the power of body awareness and how it can affect your horse on a mental, emotional and physical level.
moI believe so many miss a huge piece to the puzzle in regards to allowing our horses to respond in a soft manner…
I recently read a post about how important it is to be mindful of pulling when riding our horses, especially young or green horses. The article talked about not pulling their heads down to get a specific posture, but rather allowing them to relax and go with a relaxed head carriage. Pulling a horse into a frame will brace their poll, invert their back and put the horse more on his forehand. That is all true.
With that said, most of us work with our horses on the ground WAY more than in the saddle. Think about your daily interactions with your horse or horses. You lead them here and there, turning them out, bringing them in. Loading them on a trailer and so on. I see these same people who talk about softness in the saddle, pulling on their horse from the ground multiple times a day.
Pulling them to go forward, pulling them to load into the trailer. pushing them to back up… “Oh he won’t walk forward for you, just pull on him and he will move”. “What the heck”… Guess what? The same thing happens when pulling on our horses from the ground as it does from the saddle. The only difference is our weight is not on their backs when working from the ground.
When we work with our horses from the ground on moving forward with softness and NOT being pulled, everything we do in the saddle general becomes softer and easier for the horse…
Scenario #1: Walking your horse towards your trailer to load, he stops and looks at the trailer, you think “come on” so you pull him, poll braces, back hollows and he is placed more on his forehand. Exactly what we say we don’t do in the saddle. Hum… Just a thought here but wouldn’t it be great to have our horse come along with us and load on that trailer without having to pull them on to the trailer?
Scenario #2: We walk our horse out of his stall and he stops to look at something, we say “come on” and pull, here we go again, head goes up, poll braces, back hollows and again he is placed on his forehand…
Scenario #3: We lead our horse out to his pasture, walk him through the gate, turn him around and take his halter off, he flings his head while we are trying to remove his halter, his poll braces, back inverts and he is thrown totally on us forehand as he moves away from you.
OK so we can begin to see the problems the daily interactions with our horse/horses can create?
Again remember we interact way more with our horses on the ground than we do actually in the saddle, at least I believe that goes for the majority of us.
If we make the effort to be aware, say when putting on or removing the halter in a way that doesn’t get the horses head to fling upward and lock the poll and invert the back. If we can change this daily interaction that in a years time will happen a lot (365 days in a year, think about that), that will absolutely transfer to saddle work AND the cooperation your horse offers you.
For me I want to be able to simply touch my horses to ask them to back up or even better yet simple walk towards them with the intention of them backing up, certainly not push them to back., and there they go in the direction I had wanted. I want to ask my horse to move forward with me, not pull him to go…
Knowing how important it is for us all to become more aware of the slightest thing our horse may be offering us, I have decided to put together come clinics to support YOU in finding this lightness while you become more aware. Dates and details coming soon!
When we truly begin to be mindful and aware it will be a game changer…
Enjoy Life’s Ride…
Feel free to reach out to me for a private consultation. Get some one of one time with yourself and your horse.