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My Hands, My Seat, and The Horse

I once heard a trainer say -

“Man that was a good workout, he’s going to be sore tomorrow!”

And it never sat right with me…

As humans, we absolutely have days that were sore after gym, and while I’m not opposed to horses feeling that activation of muscles, they should not be painfully sore after you work them.

Quite the contrast, actually.

They should feel better.

As I spent the last 10 years devoted to finding what training techniques worked and what didn’t, it was not the voices and the textbooks, the blogs and the clinics that lit my path.

The world is too convoluted for that.

The only thing I listened to for that answer, was my hands, my seat, and the horse.

My hands, feel for tension on the head, behind the ears, under the neck, up the shoulder, down the back, following the hind quarter ending on the hock.

I would make a note of what those precious places felt like under my hand before and after each session.

If they were not markedly better, I would go back to studying.

My seat, takes in information that even my hands cannot feel.

From the imbalances, to the confidence, to the breath, to the range of motion, to the awareness.

All of that input goes directly into my spine and I make note of how they feel when I first get on to right before I dismount.

Be it 3 minutes or 30.

If they were not markedly better, I would go back to studying.

The horses body tells a story all on its own.

From painful expressions, a lifeless body afraid of its own movement, to a contracted neck, a restricted diaphragm and a stiff spine along with limbs that are so disconnected they have forgotten what they are capable of…

I check for all of it at first glance.

By the end of a session, I want to see as many of those improved as possible.

My end goal, is to give the horse just a little bit more of himself back, every time I work with him.

If they were not markedly better, I would go back to studying.

I still, every day, go back to studying.

Horses are spectacular on their own, and the natural mode of developing them to be our ridden partners should be so full of grace and ease that it tones their nervous system along with their bodies.

It does not need to hurt.

It does not need to be hard.

It does not need to be done in a closed energy.

Photo by Tricia Mogensen


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