Thursday, February 26, 2009
Developing Feel and Timing
I have been experimenting with a format to develop feel and timing with our horses. Feel and timing is the element in our horsemanship that wraps everything together. We watch amazing horsemen who have it so naturally. They just know what, when, where and how to be at the right place at the right time.
I would like to present this format to you and have you experiment with your horses and see what results you come up with. I would love your stories and questions.
Here we go...... First of all I want you to think about your communication with your horses in 4 categories. 1.Balance, 2.focus, 3.direction, 4.intention. These are the four elements needed for a good ride. Now take a number system from 1-10. The goal is to have you and your horse be in perfect harmony at a 5 together. For example, if your horse was not focused he may only be offering a 2 in focus (10 being the best). To help your horse you would fill in for him at a 8 in your focus. You might help him focus more with your reins, legs, seat, or line of sight.
What if he was really go-ee , he might have his energy at a 9, you then would relax your body only offering a 1, to help him calm down. This would be adjusting your intention,
This system is the beginning of feel and timing when communicating with your horse. As you develop this skill you will be changing your feel often to help him be with you at that 5.
Lets play with a few more examples... we will use direction. Direction is how you apply your reins. If he can carry himself and stay in rhythm on his own you may be able to ride on a loose rein. If he is pushy you may need to support him with more feel on your reins to slow his feet down. Again you would be adjusting as needed.
If you are off balance on your horse you could be sending him mixed messages. Sitting back might slow him down. Leaning forward may speed him up. Adjusting your seat can bring you both in harmony.
We want our horses to be connected to us, but many times we ride in a way that gives them nothing to connect to.
This format is a moment by moment, stride by stride adjustment to your horse. The format allows you to develop the feel and timing necessary to give your horse what he needs when he needs it instead of just surviving the ride.
I would love to receive you feedback on these ideas. Christa Lynn