Today I was cleaning the grass turnout and my lesson-horse, Trixie, was really interested in joining me! It was kind of interesting because as I was returning to the main arena, Trixie just stood there in front of me! She’s the herd-alpha, by the way! I asked her to move and she just stood there – whew, a little dominance move on her part! So, I asked her to move again by touching her shoulders and neck area with my savvy string (Zone 2 in Parelli-language). Then, she yielded her forehand, stepped sideways with her front feet, backed up, and moved over for me! Yes, Trixie needed to move out of my way. It’s much more savvy to have your horse move out of your way than for you to walk around your horse!
I learned from a natural horseman, years back, that when you want to go somewhere and the horse is standing in the way, it’s imperative to cause them to yield to you, meaning move, no matter how small it seems. Horses Always move out of the way for the alpha! If I want to go to the water tank, I just go there, and if there’s a horse in the way, it needs to just move over. Too many times we walk around our horses and give them the right-of-way! Oops! Important! This is another way to build leadership and healthy authority with our horses!
Have you ever noticed a horse’s increased level of sensitivity in the wind? Have you ever just had to perform, like in a show? Isn’t it cool when you Just Do It and your horse Just Does It too? I love that! You just focus, your horse focuses in on your thoughts, your determination, your Clear Intention, and then, wow, you are in your own separate world, just you and your horse.
I’ve been riding a lot in the wind lately because, well, there’s not much choice here in Las Vegas – spring winds are now part of the norm. As I’m riding I’m trying to remember if in the past these winds really bothered us or bothered us just a little. I remember one time when I was riding with a Grand Prix Instructor – it was a very special time for me – and yes, special kind of relates to the price I have to pay! Oh well. It was early morning and it was very cold (I almost said freezing cold, but that’s rare here). The wind was blowing and gusting like crazy. Oh yes, I remember too that the HOA had a volunteer party in the arena and they were blowing the leaves away, running their tractor, and there was a yappy little chihuahua in the background barking and barking, in addition to the wind! But my horse was amazing as usual. He was just focused in on our task – which was to just be present and not blow up in the wind – keep us safe, perform whatever forward trot we could, consider and think about what a half halt is or might be cuz we had never heard that term before. Isn’t it funny that I can’t remember much of what I heard from the instructor that day but I can remember everything else including that little doggie! I do love doggies!
This is written with the best intentions – you can ride in the wind! Your horse can focus on your Clear Intentions in the wind. It’s up to you to be the leader. It’s up to you to be calm. It’s up to you to create the positive vibration you want your horse to feel.
Happy Horseback Riding in Las Vegas!