I learned years ago that when I’m heading out to walk my dog I must never let him walk out the door in front of me, as that will set the wrong tone for our walk. I’m realising now that the same principle is true with horses.
From the moment I go to the field to bring a horse in, right through to the moment I have finished working with him, and am putting him back out in the field, I must be consistent. I need to be aware of every single thing I do and every single thing he does.
It may seem like I have said the same thing many times before in my blog, but the simple truth is that this fact can never be repeated enough! Even knowing it, as all of us at Pippsway do, doing it can be rather the challenge. It’s so easy to get chatting and distracted or tired and distracted. Those moments can change everything!
How I lead my horse, groom him, behave in his stable whilst I scoop the poop, tack him up and lead him to the mounting block, mount, ride up to the menage, ride in the school and dismount, all count…..how many of us are aware of our every move, and our horses every move, for every single moment of all those things and beyond? How many times has your horse not quite done as he should, but you’ve let it slide? Or not even noticed? I'm learning that the rules must be the same always, or I am confusing my horse.
This is the level of awareness I am striving for. To truly be at one with my horse I absolutely must be aware of all my actions, and his, at all times; because for the entire time we are in each other’s presence we are conversing with one another. To miss any of these moments is to miss parts of the conversation. Like trying to have a conversation on a mobile phone when one of us keeps losing signal….it’s confusing, frustrating and easy to get the wrong end of the stick!
At the moment I find I am often unaware that my awareness has lapsed, until Pip calls me out on it…..but the periods of time I am able to maintain my awareness are already getting longer and in time, and with practise, I will get there. Thankfully Pippsway is such a wonderful place to be that, far from this challenge feeling like a chore, it feels like a desirable goal.