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Where is your focus?

Horses grazing at PIppsway Classical Natural Horsemanship Wellington, Somerset near Devon.

One of Pip’s many strengths is always explaining things so that I can understand. If I cannot grasp the concept she is endeavouring to convey she will always find another way to present the information until she is sure I have understood and can apply what she has taught me. I find that seeing things from the horse’s point of view is a great way to understand what is required. At one of Pip’s clinics we did a leading exercise. It looked very simple, walking around cones and other obstacles. I was soon to find out that it wasn’t simple at all! Things were not going at all well and that was for two reasons. I wasn't giving Bronson a good lead and I was losing focus.

We've all been in the presence of someone who isn’t focused on us. They may be on their phone or computer or perhaps their mind has wandered off and we can always feel that. So can our horse. They know when we are focused on them and when we are not. Pip explained that Bronson was not inclined to give me his full attention when I wasn’t giving him my full attention. That I needed to give a clear lead, set him up for success and maintain my focus. She said he would always have one ear on me if I maintained my focus and his attention. She led him around the obstacles showing me how to work with him, on his blind side especially, and when we tried again he worked beautifully.

Ever since then, whether I am grooming, leading or riding I always try to make sure my focus is on my horse. Just like during a meditation, I will sometimes realise my mind has wandered and then I bring my focus straight back to my horse. It takes practise but I am getting better! It has made such a difference to how Bronson responds to me and those periods of feeling connected are just a joy.

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