Which one of these is you?
Your horse walks off as soon as you start to mount.
Your horse waits for you to get on and settle in the saddle before he moves.
Someone holds your horse while you get on.
Each one of these scenarios is a big shift in how you sense each other’s presence. It is an opportunity for you to get closer in relationship and meaning to your horse before you start riding.
As a rider, you can’t see his eyes as well, so you tend to “read” him more with his ears and how relaxed or tense he feels. Sometimes you do this unconsciously. Your horse can’t see your eyes either. Both of you have a closer sense of each other with your skin and muscles just about touching each other. Plus, your horse has your weight on his back and must organize his body differently to do so. He has to carry weight on his back. You have to organize your body differently, too. You have to balance yourself without your feet on the ground.
Try this the next time you ride:
- Pause the next time you get on your horse. Ask your horse to pause, too.
- Take a look at his ears.
- Consider how relaxed or tense he feels.
- Bring your attention briefly to your seat and legs so close to his body.
- Notice if his front legs are together.
- See if you can feel your horse take a breath.
- Take a deep breath before you ask your horse to move.
P.S. If you can’t get your horse to stand still when you mount, I’d be happy to help! Just email me – firstname.lastname@example.org .