by Robert M. Liner
A riding experience can bring out all of what being with horses so meaningful. By paying close attention to what a horse has to offer you, that time spent together can be an actual investment with a positive payoff better than any lottery could offer.
Riding horses is different from person to person, and if you were to think about it from horse to horse also! What truly happens for both horse and rider is happening in multiple dimensions at any given time.
We can be in tune with a horse so accurately on one ride that it may feel mystical or magical, and yet on another day, the same ride on the same horse may feel difficult and feel of opposition. Why does this occur when sometimes it's calm and other times it's stormy? A big reason has to do with where we are focusing our attention that particular day at that particular time. More than we realize we determine how the ride turns out.
Many riders expect their horses to read their minds, and they can't understand that the root cause of many difficult rides is due mainly to what the rider is focusing on at the time. If you are looking for the stress-relieving ride but are so stressed out that your tension is carrying over to how you tack-up, mount and hold the reins, don't expect much different from your horse. They will operate true to form by who is sitting on their backs.
Ordinary riders often don't give much thought to these factors because it is often the belief that horses must submit to the rider's requests, but often those requests are in the form of senseless demands and no horse can be expected to ever relinquish his own set of priorities when he's under stress. Many horsemen will tell you that whatever you expect from your horse you must first ask from yourself.
If you make the decision to become a conscious horseman, dedicate yourself to nurturing your horse by being open to change not only on the trail but in your life as well. Your horsemanship is a part of a bigger piece of your universe than most people realize. It brings balance to your life. Horsemanship can be full of many complex things that can be different for many riders to embrace. Because of our memories of past struggles with horses or injuries from falls, we can't free ourselves from these traumas, and enjoy our current level of horsemanship aptitude.
This can lead to the inevitable drama and power struggles for control when the slightest change or upset occurs. Nurture your time spent together before and after your ride and this will help take some of the mental stress of just using the ride as a stress reducer.
Create the whole experience as a way to expand the ride to a new level of satisfaction. Avoid blaming yourself and your horse if it doesn't always go as planned. Try to manage your time so you won't get caught rushing the whole thing, but if you need to ride, then ride. Just be aware that when you push your horse your pushing the quality of that particular ride.
There is evidence that having a good conversation, such as the kind between two friends or a counselor, having the same beneficial chemical effects as taking a drug to produce the same thing. Now if that's possible by talking to a person, what are the possibilities of producing the same results your body language with your horse?
There are many riders that swear their horses can understand them when they talk to them. Could that same communication come from the horse's body language to the rider's? Isn't that what you are ultimately exploring with your horse each time you ride?
There is a plane of energy that exists where communication takes place. Sometimes it's the way a horse is moving that he is saying, "I'll show you what a great ride we can have if you'll just let me move the way I need to." This may be why he needs to have a better fitting saddle or more comfortable pad. How about removing the tie down or lengthening your reins? If that's not the case then try being more aware of the weight of your thoughts, at least while your riding.
Strive for balance in all areas of your life and you might be amazed at what a difference you'll see in your horse. Look at the deep side of the trail and let your horse find his way with your guidance. Be wise and let life guide the ride.
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