Well, seeing how it is wednesday, that means I share a motivational quote on my facebook and instagram page. Today I shared this picture;
This is a photo of my old horse Nebrijano – which now lives in Sweden with a lovely lady having a fantastic life!
I think – we need to be motivational when we ride. We need to keep our horses intrigued & interested in what we are asking of them.
Just like when I teach people, I need to keep them wanting to all the time seek more knowledge, further their horizons.
But the question then is – how do we do this?
I think this is a very wide and difficult subject but I will try to share with you some of the things I do.
Firstly, if your horse is safe to hack out on – that is a great way to split up the training, they get to see the world, take in their surroundings. I find this is a great way to keep horses heads focused, because they take in so much information about the “outside world”.
Another thing you can do to change up your training(this is if you’re a dressage rider) is to do some polework or jumping. It doesn’t have to be very complicated, or big jumps. It only needs to be a few poles, or a little jump – this will also break the pattern and make the horse use it’s brain in a different way. If you are scared of jumping, or if you feel that you don’t want to ride over poles or jumps, there is always the alternative which is lunging over poles/cavaletties instead.
Or why not combine the two?
In your regular training though, I still think there are things we can do to help maintaining our horses focus and motivation to their work.
I find that if we are good about rewarding our horses work – this keeps them happier and I also find it creates a better understanding for what we like and not like quite so much.
Another thing I do is to give them lots of mini breaks where they’re allowed to stretch and relax, recover and chill their brains. When I feel that they’re swinging forwards positively I pick them back up again and go for a while longer.
Does your horse have a favourite thing to do?? This is an excellent way to maintain the feeling of a happy athlete! Reward your horse, or let him/her have a mini break in the schooling session, by doing what they enjoy. Now this is very individual – my last horse, Nebrijano, he loved extended trot, so when we had specially done something he found hard, then we would always let him go and have a little play at an extension, he would always prick his ears in joy!
My current horse likes when you stand up in a jumping position, slightly lengthening your reins and let her canter on forwards, she always has a little shake on her head and a few bounces to let you know she appreciates the reward, or shall we call it – playtime?
What do you think?
Some horses are also very sensitive to your voice, so using words in your rewarding can also be a really good tool. When I go “Aaaawh she’s such a good girl” my horse always sparkles up, points her ears, and it feels like, she’s smiling.
Here is me on a newly backed 3 year old – i must say, I look very happy and he looks very relaxed, just like it should be in a moment of reward!
I hope you have enjoyed this blogpost, I would love to hear your opinions, do you agree – or not? Would you consider yourself to be a motivational rider? Are there things you would like to improve on?
Happy training everyone !