How To Ride A Horse In Better Harmony – Part 1
Before you can learn how to ride a horse in better harmony I think we should establish what “better harmony” is.
The Free Online Dictionary says it nicely as “a pleasing combination of elements to create a whole.” Some good synonyms are; understanding, cooperation, unity, peace and rapport.
In order to have an enjoyable riding experience we need to always strive for better harmony between ourselves and our horses. In fact, I often tell my students that their horses bodies (and often attitudes) are going to be a mirror of their riders.
So it follows that in order for us to improve in how to ride a horse, we are going to need to improve our riding skills!
I believe that in order to improve our riding skills we need to improve our “feel.” Riding is all about “feel.”
We need to be in tune with feeling what we are doing, what our horse is doing, and how our horse is responding, or reacting, to what we are doing.
This all starts from the moment we get our horse out of his stall or pasture. No matter how nice it might sound to be able to go out to the barn and find our horse all tacked up and waiting for us, doing it ourselves gives us a chance to tune in to how our horse is feeling, both mentally and physically.
During grooming and tacking you can take note of any tender spots, nicks, bumps or cuts your horse may have. No one knows your horse better than you do.
Please BE PRESENT with your horse while you are getting ready. Don’t be thinking about work tomorrow, or an argument you had with a friend or family member earlier in the day. Being present means being both physically and mentally, “in the moment.”
The horse’s mindset and physical preparation begin in the stable. How you handle and groom your horse can either be a soothing and bonding experience, or a quick, “hurry up” job. Guess which one yields the best results? 🙂
Once you have groomed and tacked up you need to mount your horse. I always mount from a mounting block because it is easier on my horse (of course it’s much easier on me too, LOL).
You should also be able to mount from the ground just in case you are ever in a situation where you need to. But, if you consistently put all of your weight in your left stirrup, each time you mount, to hoist yourself up onto your horse, then you are always pulling his spine off to the left.
Sooner or later your horse will need some chiropractic adjustments to perform his best…or even just to be comfortable!
As you mount, make sure to lower your weight as gently as possible into the saddle so that you don’t come slamming down on your horse’s back. As I said earlier, being present in the moment is essential to all aspects of good horsemanship and riding.
By taking your time, and not hurrying your riding preparations, you are definitely on your way to learning how to ride a horse in better harmony.
I will continue next time with Part 2….now that you are actually sitting on top of your horse 🙂