Busy at work, hard day at the office, traffic was hell and now you are racing to the barn to ride your horse, for which you only have one hour… He’s having a lovely day in the pasture with his friends. All of a sudden you come rushing in, surrounded by an aura of stress.
Different scenario. You love horses, you want to ride, but deep down you are quite scared. But you really want this and you don’t want your friends to think you are a chicken, so you put up a brave face and you walk adamant into the field to catch your horse.
I can think of more examples, but I think you catch my drift. It’s all leading to disaster. Horse language is nonverbal. He can read you better than any old gipsy woman with a purple robe and a looking glass. And he will mirror your behavior. No point in trying to hide your feelings behind a stifled grin. You might fool other humans, but you’ll never fool a horse. People are not so aware of body language as horses are. This can lead to confusing situations for both parties, in which you invite your horse to come towards you by stepping back, while chasing him away with a whip in your hand. He’ll know in what mood you are when you are in the saddle. I’m convinced horses are capable of compassion, so if you are friends and you are sad, most of them will be kind. But angry, stressed, impatient or rushed feelings will make horses uncertain or afraid.
Training your horse properly requires a certain state of mind. Don’t look at the clock. Who invented that a lesson should last an hour? Not the horse. Put your phone away. You need your full mind to focus, to tune into the horse. He deserves your attention. You need your brain to think about what you feel, what is happening and what you can do to make it even better. To find solutions to explain yourself better.
If you are rushed or scared, don’t ride. Just give him attention. A thorough grooming session or take him out for a walk. Do some groundwork and just enjoy each other’s company. It’s easier to break down a bond of trust then to build one. Don’t feel like you have to ride every day, just because there is a competition coming up or you think it is the proper thing to do. You want a long term relationship, don’t you?