3 Ways To Not Mess Up Your Horse
How paying the right kind of attention
can change everything
Thank you so much for picking up this e-guide! The next 20 minutes may be the most pivotal for you to not mess up your horse and do everything that you’ve been wanting to do with them. So sit back and read through this guide now. You’ll be glad you did!
Have you ever been afraid you’d do something to mess up your horse? Once we’ve had this thought, we worry. Sometimes it’s all we can pay attention to. If you’re anything like me, it eats at your insides and hurts to even think it might happen.
Years ago I used to worry that I’d screw things up and my horse would develop some bad habit like bolting or going above the bit. All my worries got worse the day my horse Shooby colicked and almost died. I kept wondering if it wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t worked him as hard that day.
Whether your horse is young or a trained competition horse, being afraid of messing up your horse is one of the biggest problems I’ve seen with my students and clients in my over 40 years of teaching dressage, training and competing horses.
This e-guide is for you if:
*You know your horse could do more, but you don’t see them doing things better as often as you like.
*You’ve ever felt that your horse should pay more attention to you.
*You’ve ever worried that you might do something to mess up your horse.
*You’ve ever wondered why the methods that work for others don’t seem to work with your horse.
*You feel stuck at your current level of riding.
*You know what you want to do with your horse, but can’t seem to find the way to make it happen.
*You’re having some success with your horse now but you know there could be much more.
Even if just one of these statements applies to you, it’s time for you to do something different. It’s time to take action to change things. It’s time to pay attention to getting what you really want with your horse.
If you’d like to speak with me on a complementary call about how to pay the right kind of attention to not mess up your horse and get to the results you want, click HERE.
By the time you finish reading this e-guide, you’ll be ready to tap into exciting new skills to get more results when you train, have more fun, and bring about elegant positive training. You’ll experience riding and working with your horse where a single thought can launch an abundance of amazing results.
In this e guide, I’m going to show you 3 things about attention that will help you not mess up your horse.
1. Attention matters more than we think.
2. What we pay attention to may be more subtle than we think.
3. Attention goes two ways between us and our horse.
Attention matters more than we think
What is attention, anyway?
When you were a kid, did a teacher ever tell you, “you’re not paying attention?” It hurt and made you feel bad, didn’t it? Because you didn’t think you weren’t paying attention. It was just that in that moment something caught your eye. Then suddenly you’re being scolded for something you’re not doing. Was that not unfair?
I’m here to tell you that you were paying attention. The teacher was wrong. It was just that you weren’t paying attention to what they wanted you to pay attention to.
You may not have heard what they were saying, but you may have been paying attention to the trees blowing outside the window or dreaming of galloping a horse on a beach. They didn’t understand and were arbitrary and unkind.
We’re always paying attention to something.
Take a moment and try not to pay attention to anything. Do you see what’s in front of you? What comes to mind? What are you thinking about? That’s what you’re paying attention to. You may even be paying attention to trying not to pay attention.
Everyone is always paying attention to something. How about your horse? Horses also are always paying attention to something, too.
Attention. What is it anyway? It’s a lot more complex than the teachers said but we know from that story that we’re always paying attention, aren’t we?
What are we actually paying attention to?
What if I could tell you that you could pay attention to your horse in a whole different way that will give you radically new results?
Let me help you discover your best next move to help you live your own radically new results. To apply for a complementary strategy session, click HERE.
For instance, My student Sandy finally figured out how to understand her horse after years of not knowing what was going on with him. Bailey used to just plod around and take forever to trot and sometimes would even not canter when she gave a leg aid. He transformed into a willing partner who would offer to canter if Sandy even thought about it.
Attention may be more subtle than we think
There are many things we can pay attention to with our horse that make a big difference. You already know this and I teach these, too. You do special things for them, too. You feed them the best hay and grain, you love on them, you scratch their itchy spots, you kiss their soft noses.
You know you’re a good responsible horse owner when you take this kind of loving care.
You pay attention when you do these things, too:
- Brush dirt off their back
- Choose the best brush to use
- Pick manure out of hooves
- Put the bridle on carefully
- Buckle the girth
- Put a foot in the stirrup
- Ask your horse to trot
If we’ve taken lessons, been in clinics, read horse books and watched instructional videos, we also pay lots of attention to all the stuff we’ve learned about how to ride better. We try to do it each time we get on our horse. I teach these techniques, too, and here are a few examples.
- Sit up straight
- Keep your shoulders back
- Don’t lean too far forward
- Don’t ride in a chair seat
- Keep your back soft
- Keep your stirrups the right length
- Have an independent seat
- Have your reins the right length
- Keep your hands quiet
What if there’s another whole level of paying attention?
You know how when you kiss your horse’s nose, they breathe softly into your face? What if we could pay attention in a much more nuanced way like this, a way that would actually change our results with our horses? What if we could pay the right kind of attention and get unstuck and actually get to the next level?
If you’d like to speak to me on a complementary call about the kind of attention that gets you unstuck and to the next level with your horse, click HERE.
When you pay attention to the right thing in the right moment, you and your horse feel like a team and tune in together, as my client Jessica learned to do with her horse Gitana. Not only did they go from a young green horse who could barely canter to competing in shows with success, but more importantly, as Jessica says, they learned too deeply connect with each other as a team.
What if I could teach you to pay attention to your horse in a whole new way?
Attention is a two way street
I’m sorry to say this, but the type of stuff that’s on those lists above is not enough. There’s another level and there are points even more subtle than the ones that I outlined because attention is a two way street.
For instance, how about your horse? Horses also are always paying attention to something, too.
Remember when your teacher thought you weren’t paying attention but you were? Well, your horse is just like that. In those times when you’re so frustrated and you want your horse to be paying attention, they really are. It’s just that they are paying more attention to something else besides what you want them to.
You horse is just like you when you were in the classroom.
Attention is a two way street when you work with horses. That means that you attend to what your horse is paying attention to at the same time that you think of what you want him to do. How we pay attention when we work with horses matters more than we think, and it’s more subtle than we think.
Take a moment right now and envision what it’s like for a horse. Pause and take a breath before you continue reading. Now imagine you are a horse with four legs, a mane, a tail and ears that stick up on top of your head. You’re standing in a lush pasture. Your teeth grab and pull at blades of grass. The taste on your big tongue is delicious. You chew up the green grass, savoring how good it is. Then you lower your head and your lips search for clover or a special weed that’s your favorite. A biting fly buzzes your flank, so you swish your tail to get rid of it.
These are just some of the things a horse may pay attention to.
- Delicious blades of grass
- Savoring the taste
- Searching for the most tasty clover or weed
- Biting fly
- Swishing tail
It’s a problem, though, if my horse is paying attention to eating grass and I want to lead them to the arena or ride them down the trail. How do I get them to pay attention to what I want them to do?
These are three actions I teach to get things started when horses won't stop eating grass.
- If your horse is already eating grass, get them to move.
- If you’re leading your horse, walk forward and ask your horse to go with you.
- If you’re riding, use one rein to ask your horse to turn.