You will get there!
You will get there. Sooner or later…
Working with horses rarely develops as expected and that can bring joy and surprise as well as frustration. The happiness from joy and surprise can barely be a bad thing, but the frustration or powerlessness is something I believe most horse people has experienced.
My latest case considered Alvaro who during our riding became very frustrated and tense when I asked him for roundness and bending. The problem here is not the essence of the story, but so is the discovery I made when I changed my own approach to the problem in an attempt to solve it. What I did was that I started asking for much less and that immediately caused him to relax in his body and mind. I decided to ask for almost no bending at all and suddenly he seemed to be much more confident because I stoppede correcting him all the time. Neither did I become frustrated as my expectations were low and so I allowed myself to be very happy with his nice effort instead of asking for more. My demands were extremely low and he suddenly started responding so much better.
Until yesterday it has been two months since our last riding lesson at my trainer and what I saw today was that he has never been smoother. His roundness and bending were much better even though this is exactly what I haven’t been asking for for the past few months. I allowed him to build up confidence in the exercises and focus on only a few things instead of expecting him to do 10 things right at the same time. Therefore he suddenly had the courage and confidence to give me a little more bending than ever before and this time he even seemed fine with it!
My goal remains the same but my approach changed and that meant for us that we evolved more on this point than ever. I am aware that I will take longer time to reach a nice bending, but I would much rather have a happy and enthusiastic horse by my side when we reach the goal than forcing it through now!
Point of the story is that becoming too target minded isn’t always a good thing. Once in a while it really pays of the slow down, lower the expectations and believe that you will reach the goal sooner or later! You actually does in most cases…