“When you’re riding, only the race in which you’re riding is important.”– Bill Shoemaker
What does this quote mean to you?
Does it mean:
- When you are riding, whether it is in the competition arena or training at home, you should be paying attention to your horse.
- Don’t get ahead of yourself?
- Focus on the job at hand?
I think it means all of these. When you have the ability and knowledge to be on your horse,
give your horse your full attention. Do not belittle your horse by not paying attention to what is going on underneath you. Look for those moments when they, the horse, are honest and trying to perform the tasks you are asking of them.
Do not look for the ‘have nots’. Those moments when the horse is misunderstanding and acting in a misunderstood fashion. Look for the way, we as trainers, can guide our horses to understand what is asked of them and to perform willingly.
The quote can be taken literally, “you are only as good as your last win”. But as horse riders and trainers we know… horses are creatures. As living creatures we should treat them with respect and this way you can form a bond which will grow and be a foundation to build your training and horsemanship.
Building a Bond With Your Horse
When horse training, building a bond with your horse is one of the simplest yet most difficult things to do. The horse is programmed to build a bond. The difficulty lies within us! We have a bad day, stressed at work or caught in traffic, we expect to get on the horse and have it all go away.
Do you ever think the horse is having a ‘bad day’? Maybe they need something from us, a pat, a treat or a kind word to let them know THEY belong.
Focusing on your horse, whether in the stable, while riding or on the trail is one way you can start right now to create a partnership with your horse. It is more than saddles, bridles, round pens and ‘carrot sticks’.
Start by Saying ‘Hello’
Do you march into your horse’s stall and just grab his halter? Take a step back for a moment and think how it would feel if someone you knew came up to you and just grabbed at you. HOw would you feel?
Take some time, say 3 minutes, to just plane scratch your horse. You don’t need to give treats. You don’t need to have grain. You don’t need to give anything but your undivided attention! spend 3 minutes of hands on ‘rubbing’ and tell me what happens to your relationship with your horse.
How do you plan to spend more quality time with your horse.