Do you know those moments when you think of a cue and your horse does it? Here’s how to make those moments repeatable and communicate with your horse in a new way!
Believe it or not, your riding cues can be more impactful when you prepare them mentally – and it can make riding more enjoyable for both you and your horse! Think of ballroom dancers: the leading partner initiates the movement, and his partner follows. As an observer, you can’t see who initiated the movement – the pair just appears to move as one. That’s what it can be like with your equine companion!
Leading with intent
If you visualize your next movement and establish clear mental intent before asking your horse to perform it, you can become one with your horse. Let’s say you want to achieve smoother transitions from a walk to trot. Before you even ask for the transition, create a clear image in your head for how you want this movement to feel. With some practice this will only take a split second, but you can take more time when you first do it. Using this example, visualize:
- how you want your horse to respond to a subtle cue from your leg
- a calm but engaged rhythm at the trot (you can even begin to count out the two-beats)
- balanced, in sync movement with your horse
Feeling the visualization
Once you practice creating these visualizations, you may begin to feel them in your body. This can help ensure that you’re in the correct position, which your horse will pick up on before you cue her. As a result, your cues can be more subtle.
After performing a successful transition, give yourself and your horse a break. End on a good note and give yourself time to let the good feelings register. Take a mental snapshot of the level of communication you just reached, so you’ll have an easier time replicating it next time. The clearer you are on what you want it to feel like, the more intuitive and automatic it will become.
Take your communication to the next level
Ready to accelerate your learning even more? Take a photo or video of yourself riding and send it to Carla@theintuitiverider.com to receive personalized tips for better posture and improved communication with your horse.