Are You a Focused Rider?

Last Updated: 3:39 PM on Aug 11, 2008
Riding With Focus
by: Carolyn Bauhr

Lots and lots of people talk about riding with focus. I do too. Then I think, “What does that REALLY mean? Are we focusing on where we’re going? Yes, I believe that’s very important. What about when we get there? Are we focusing on what’s next? Yes, that’s got to be important also. If we get where we want to be and we’re not ready to go to the next spot or transition or looking ahead, our thinking goes -“ I believe that was good but oops, now I‘m in a spot that’s now not so good“. Guess what your horse is thinking? I’m sure mine is thinking, Here we go again. I’ve got to take over again for her!!

I don’t mean to micro manage my horse but I don’t think it’s fair to let things be clear in my mind about what I want or where I’m going for a while and then wander off and expect my horse to stay focused and help me out. Sometimes they do help you out and sometimes they do something we really didn’t want them to do when we had nothing in our mind and no focus on what happens next. We get mad at them and think they are stupid when a lot of times we had not prepared them to have in mind what we want next.

Not fair, indeed, I’ve done it a lot and my horse knows what happens next before it happens.

The point is, ( I bet your wishing I’d finally get to it). We don’t want a robot horse in natural horsemanship. We want a partnership and harmony with our horses. We can definitely be focused, relaxed and having fun at the same time in fact it works great that way. We do want to have things with imagination and creativity and FUN but we need to be willing to give them a focus with our body language and our mind that we are imaginative, fun and a good leader for them to follow. There’s the fun of it. When I have a student ask, “What is it like to be one with your horse.” I love it. It’s hard to describe until you’ve been there but anyone can have that oneness with their horse. It takes time, some people want it like fast food, but it doesn’t happen that way. Being focused when you are riding is one of the most important ways to get there.

When learning jumping on a horse you’re taught as soon as your done with the jump you’ve jumped you’d better be looking at that next jump and so on. Focus, jump and look for the next one. Eyes ahead thinking ahead. That’s how I was taught, and I know what happens if you don’t. The horse will end up somewhere in a position that the next jump will be missed. The course is set up differently and you’d better know which jump follows the next. Forward thinking, focus and that’s the same way on the trail, in the arena, after that cow, or even opening that gate. What’s now and what’s next?

Sometimes I hear, “What’d my horse do that for?” Well he had to do something? Where was your focus?

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