"My horse is evading"
Evading the contact. Evading being caught. Evading the aids.
This is a common vernacular in our industry, and something that I am met with frequently in assessments with new clients, and the first thing that I ask is -
"What is the discomfort that they are trying to escape from?"
This is then almost always met with silence, and occasionally defensiveness. The actual definition of the word, evasion is, "The act or a means of getting or keeping away from something undesirable."
When you feel your equine partner eliciting what you want to call evasion, I invite you to sit with it for a moment and to connect with them and ask them what it is about the request that they are finding undesirable?
Are they confused? Are they physically not capable? Are you demanding instead of asking? Is the gear being used conducive for the request?
There are so many questions you can dive down, but I promise you- It is worth diving down them.
A simple change in perspective is just changing the language.
When you think "evasion", try for a moment to swap it to "invitation.
"My horse is evading the bit."
"My horse is inviting me to look into what is making this undesirable for them". The first Pillar of the Balance Through Movement Method IS the relationship to connection.
Sure, we dive into all kinds of fancy exercises and support for upper level movements -
But none of that matters until their core need for safety is met.
The horses ability to feel to safe in connection, has a direct effect on their nervous system.
Just like with humans -
The sympathetic nervous system will always fire up the muscles opposite to what is required for a sound body.
The parasympathetic nervous system, will always fire up the muscles that are advantageous.
It is as simple as that.
My entire ethos around this pillar is that my touch, should elicit nothing but a sense of safety and relaxation in the horse.
Imagine for a moment, that you can simply become the tool that invite them into the parasympathetic…
What would it feel like -
If when your hand touches their body, you feel them exhale with relief and soften under your touch?
If when you pick up on the contact of the bit, they meet you with a quiet lightness and curiosity to feel into the dance that you are about to embark on?
If when your seat calls up an energy, that are so happy to meet you with their spine and coil their energy and wait with joy for your next direction?
Or if when your legs give guidance, you can intuitively act as a dance partner, taking up their waist to get a sense for how they feel and what support they need and then feeling them mold like pottery to your direction?
This kind of relationship is more than available for you both, and its' truly the thing that I love to teach about the most.
But it all starts, with the nervous system.