It is the end of September and autumn is letting itself be noticed. This morning we are lucky with a calm and sunny start of the day. I always like to teach in an outside arena. Today I am teaching Kirsty at Gransha Equestrian Centre. She was riding Summer a young promising mare they bred themselves. Now four years and still growing, but getting all the time she needs.
Today we addressed “feel”. It was lovely to see how Kirsty got softer, becoming aware of the effects of her breathing, muscle tensions and body position influencing the horse. We focussed on mobility of several joints throughout her body. Shoulders, elbows, back, hip and knee joints were addressed. Being soft you can follow the horse without any interfering signals.
From here the contact through the reins becomes a following and giving contact. Giving this young horse, Summer, the guidance she needs. And you see the horse become more soft and balanced! At this point Kirsty told me she had the feeling she was not doing anything …. She was not riding her horse. We changed her contact through the reins and she was searching how to know/see she was doing it correctly in this new way. Well Summer was giving her the answer! Kirsty just needed to shift to “feeling” the answer Summer was giving her. When there was too much tension coming from Kirsty, Summer would tense also, shorten her neck, tipping her head. As soon as Kirsty got soft but kept the connection, Summer would relax and reach forward into her hand. So “feel” is all about listening to the horse.
“Feel” the horse and listen. And a good listener has all the time in the world!