This exercise is so simple that you may wonder how in the world it has anything to do with riding and training horses. If you care about your horse, it does!
Here’s what you do:
1. While you are grooming your horse, stop your brush and look closely at each individual hair for 30 seconds.
2. If you find yourself thinking about anything other than the individual hair, just notice that and return to focus on the individual hair, nothing else.
3. If you find yourself thinking “what good is this going to do,” or anything else, just notice that your attention has strayed and return to focus on one individual hair.
4. Repeat at least 3 times on each side.
Here’s what happened when I tried this:
It was really hard to keep my attention on just one hair. Part of me wanted to count the hairs, and part of me wanted to touch and separate them. I desperately wanted to DO SOMETHING with the hairs. But I stuck to the plan. I kept having to bring my focus back to just one hair. Again and again, I restarted my attention on one hair.
Here’s what happened when I rode my horse:
I completely forgot about the One Hair Exercise. I wanted to ride! Then, without any thought or intention, I was glancing down at the individual hairs on Sundance’s neck and mane as he trotted. I felt grounded and confident.
Sundance did, too! The connection was open and clear, and we were loving it!
What about my goal that day? My goal had been collected canter, and it happened effortlessly.