Silencing the Voices

Working our free walk.

Derby has had the unenviable task recently of carting around an extra burden.  In addition to me, the poor creature has been saddled with an entire chorus of gremlins.  They live in my head and lately, every single one of them has shown up for my rides.  This was especially evident over the weekend, as I was over-thinking to the point where I would literally try to do three things at once in the saddle, and I would wind up literally screwed up – twisted and hunched and convoluted in the saddle to such an extent that Derby really should have just dumped my butt in  the sand.

This persisted into a lesson in which I didn’t ride well.  Watching the video, I cringed.  Some of the same tension – in the rider, not the horse – that I experienced at the show was clearly evident in this video.

Simply put, I was trying too hard, and ignoring some key basics, like balance, and checking in on your equine partner.  PARTNER. Not vehicle.  Looking back those videos, I was having a one-sided conversation with Derby.  And I was doing all the talking.  He responded as any rational being would – he clamped his mouth shut, and did his best to ignore all the blather.  Can’t blame him, not one iota.

So I resolved to banish the voices, and instead of trying so hard, to tune into the horse, and really feel him.  Feel his mouth, his neck, his back, his hind legs.  Feel all those things he uses to communicate with me, that I was ignoring of late.

It won’t surprise you to hear that everything improved.  Gait quality, roundness.  It’s coming back, but I have to really make a point of silencing the voices in my head, and listening to the horse instead.