I'm Just Saying
The horse will learn to compensate for us. They will fill in for us and they will perform for us even when we don't help them. When we can learn to ride so they don't have to work around us it opens endless possibilities of what we can accomplish together.
Any action or movement that the horse is physically capable of doing can be done with a hackamore, as long as the rider has the horse's mind with them. Advanced schooling requires advanced knowledge and preparation of the mind as well as the body of both horse and rider.
We should try to not pull the horse out from underneath us and only shape them underneath us. If we can do this neither of us will be out of balance.
We need to teach ourselves how to effectively use our hand and body to set up the bit or hackamore in a way that is consistent to what we are asking the horse to do while not blocking their action with our body.
I realized one of the biggest most valuable changes in myself as a horseman through the years has been my approach to the relationship between myself and the horses I ride and how I present my body and seat to them. For much of my life, I viewed it as a them or me type deal.
What can I make them do and how fast and hard can I get them to do it? How can I always win in every situation? How can I protect myself against them? I was on the defensive to make sure I got to them before they got to me. I have learned this attitude caused 95% of all the problems I ever had with a horse. Now as soon as I catch a horse it's no longer them and me it's the two of us united as one.
As soon as I step in the saddle my body is not in a defensive stiff stance, it's soft and flexible, inviting the horse closer not pushing it away. This softness of seat helps the horse relax and even if they startle or have an explosive movement it never seems to escalate like it does with a defensive seat.
No longer are we two units, one directing the other. We are one unit working together, seeking each other out and searching for ways to smooth out the rough spots in each other as we find ways to move as one.
It's easy for us to soften ourselves once the horse softens up.
It's a challenge to be soft first. When we can manage it, the horse will follow our lead and reward us by softening much faster and thoroughly.
It still excites and inspires me every time it happens: that moment when our minds and bodies are just right, and the horses allows us to become a part of them, then allows us to shape and create our own art with their beauty and motion.
I love the feeling when a horse figures out that working though its body instead of around its body is easier.
When I was young I used to delight in what I could make a horse do, yet as I get older I am constantly amazed at how much more they will give by simply getting out of the way and asking.
Awareness is something I am always trying to develop to a finer degree. I think it is important to be aware so we can observe how the horse responds to our interactions. Act, observe and adjust till harmony is obtained.
The only thing the horse really does is tell me how well I present something to them. If I present myself right, they respond in kind without fail 100% of the time.