Discover your ideal relationship with your horse

CEGA creates an atmosphere of openness and trust in which to explore your own special horse-human bond. We want to help you remove blocks, deepen your awareness of the power within, and help you achieve your goals.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Turn off your brain!

This week is my week to do the CEGA blog posting.  Kate, Barb and I have structured some of our CEGA responsibilities on a three-week rotation, and the blog posting is one of them.  Sometimes, a topic comes to me pretty easily.  Sometimes, I feel like I have to just sit down and start typing, then my brain starts working.  The funny thing is, when I am writing, it is actually much more productive if I shut my brain off, and just let the ideas and thoughts come out my fingertips.  It is when I am over-thinking that I get into trouble.  

And so it is with riding.  I consistently find that two things are true when riding.
  1. Over-thinking gets me into trouble, or at the very least, interferes with the feel that I am striving to develop.  
  2. Sometimes, I have to just go through the motions of grooming, tacking up, and hopping onto my horse, to sort of prime the pump and enable me to have a really good ride.

This is precisely what happened to me yesterday. I had ridden Sid, my really fun, solid, reliable little Standardbred.  Good conditioning ride, no expectations of anything else.  We had a blast.  

Then it was time for me to ride Monarch, my Thoroughbred, who is also a great amount of fun, but let’s just say that he tends to be more “highly aware” than Sid.  And once again, right before I got on him, the neighbors across the road decided to try setting off some bottle rockets.   Another neighbor was walking down the road with her three unruly dogs and a little kid who was pulling one of those noisy plastic sleds.  Oh boy. Combine this with the fact that I hadn’t ridden Monarch in over a week, and my mind was full of the possibilities for things to go wrong.  So you see, I was already in defensive mode when I mounted Monarch.  

How silly!  As it turns out, we had a great ride!  I was aware that I was defensive and over-analyzing the situation, and just decided to trust myself and my horse.  I worked on getting Monarch’s attention on me, and not on the sled or the dogs, and I did some deep breathing and relaxation exercises for me so that I could be back in my body and less in my mind.  You want to lean on my leg, Monarch?  I will give you ONE good nudge with my leg to get off me, and that will be that.  And I will expect you to respond appropriately. You want to accelerate in the trot and start flying around? Nope.  ONE good half-halt will suffice.  Then you will resume that nice one-two, one-two cadence.  I focused on feeling, and not on thinking.   The results were fabulous.  Monarch really liked me being clear and not nagging him.  He was reaching out for the bit, flicking his ears back and forth, and responding much more willingly and quickly.  I really liked being able to communicate with Monarch in a clear, way that left no room for misinterpretation and that relied on feeling rather than thinking.   

Here’s wishing you all a wonderful New Year, filled with fun times with your horses!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Sometimes in all the bustle of the holidays, our horse partners get a bit lost in the shuffle. We have too many errands, it is too cold (and we aren't used to it yet), we get too tired, it's too dark... the list for reasons not to ride, not to spend time in the barn can get pretty long.

Can I offer some advice? Try going out anyway. Just once, even. I don't mean to feed or muck or do other chores. I mean go out once, when you really don't "feel" like it, and go for a ride in the snow, do a little schooling session to see what you both remember, or even do some unmounted work--lungeing or liberty work. Anything that lets you reconnect.
Put some carols on the stereo or ipod and ride with a friend to the music. Or listen to the gentle hiss of snow as it falls around you, or the birds in the bushes wrangling over the berries and seeds. When you share these moments with your horse, they take on a deeper meaning, ad you'll enjoy them all the more.

Just before Christmas there is a calm that settles over me. I don't mean that I have all the shopping done, or that the house is all clean. It's the spirit of the season. The joy, love, hope and remembering those who are no longer here to share it with us. That's when I remember to get my self out to the barn, and even if it is for five minutes, reconnect with my horses.

Happy Holidays to you all, and may your New Year be filled with light, hope and joy for the future :)