Your Horse Is A Mirror

"You are a very strong-minded girl, and he's a very strong-minded pony. One of you is going to have to give, and it's got to be you."

Wise words from Dr. Jenny, and words I've been ruminating on in the week since the clinic. Michael mentioned a few times that Dr. Jenny reminded him of a "female, dressage-riding version of Buck Brannaman" and he's definitely right. Both teachers focus on the horse being a reflection of the rider. Your hang-ups, your tension, your fears, and your quirks are all mirrored in the way your horse behaves and relates to you.

Being strong-minded is something I've struggled with my entire life. It isn't necessarily always a bad thing, but my tendency to have a "my way or the highway" attitude has absolutely kept me from deepening relationships, solving problems, and communicating effectively. I firmly believe that one of the reasons God gave me Dino was to show me what a pain in the ass I am when I get that way! It's also a blessing that my biggest passion in life is also a very, very humbling sport. Horses prove us wrong on a daily basis, and humility is something I need a huge daily dose of.

Over the past week, I've been focusing more on working with my pony as opposed to getting in a pulling match with the little snot, as is my usual tactic. And you know what? Not being a stubborn, pig-headed dictator is working really well for me. I'm using less whip, less spur, and less hand. My pony is light in the bridle. He doesn't lean as much. He offers to go round at my least suggestion without having to go through an epic pulling and kicking match to get there. He's forward. (Remember our warm-up problems? GONE.) He's happy. He's willing. And we're having FUN. I even cheated a little and jumped him over a few crossrails the other day out of our newfound collected dressage canter, and holy cow, what a difference. Making sure that Dino was balanced, focused, and collected gave me the option to leave one out or add a stride right up until the very last step. He jumped rounder than ever, and instead of landing and lugging off like a freight train, he came right back into my hand and picked himself up instead of running off on his forehand. There are definitely still moments when he challenges my authority, but overall I've definitely seen an improvement.

We also did our first video session on Saturday (Thanks Michael!), and while it wasn't some of our best work ever, I was pleasantly surprised by the footage. I do want to try and improve and steady my hands, keep my reins shorter than a mile long, and work on maintaining roundness through our transitions, but overall I liked what I saw. 

Dressage. Humility. Letting go of your ego. It's all good.

Plus, you can't argue with this:


Post a Comment

Popular Posts