Focus, feel, timing, and balance are four crucial skills for you to develop in order to truly be effective with your horsemanship. These skills will make it possible for you to find harmony and flow in your relationship with horses.
Your horse learns best through the use of feel. Simply put, the use of comfort (a place of zero pressure) and discomfort (pressure). For example, if you get cold, an urge to put on warmer clothes comes over you. So, in essence, you could teach someone to put on a coat by turning the thermostat down. You wouldn’t have to say anything to create this response, this is part of feel. Not everything that you do is directly related to the task at hand, there may be other connections that will help you by following the process.
Horses are rewarded the most through the use of release. The timing of a release can be extremely effective – for both good and bad results. For example, if you swing your lead rope and release the swing at the moment your horse sends, they will learn to circle around you; however, if your lead rope breaks when the horse pulls back while tied, they will learn to pull back. The horse is learning from both of the releases, but one is a good result of timing and release, and one is a bad result of timing and release.
In the beginning, we talk about balance in regard to balance of all four directions and two types of pressure (driving vs physical). As you develop your horsemanship further, balance can refer to even more, such as balance of mind, body, and emotion.
Focus is what sets all of these wheels into motion. Feel, Timing, and Balance are some of the most important qualities that a person can possess in order to be effective with their horse. Unfortunately, these aforementioned qualities cannot be given to you. They can’t even be taught in their entirety. For instance, I could not teach you to play the piano, but I could teach you chord progressions, and simple songs to get you motivated. The true journey to developing these skills is a personal one, and I can only give you the path. These “skills” can only be developed by having opportunities put in front of you. That is what this program is essentially about: giving you opportunities along with a pathway to follow.
Fortunately, focus is something that we all possess and it is what sets all the rest in motion.
To develop your focus, feel, timing, and balance – to the point that you become truly effective in your horsemanship.
– Not staying focused.
– Relying on too many outside sources, other than feel (treats, oils, punishment, coercion, etc.)
– Not truly understanding the power of release.
– Thinking that you don’t have to practice to develop these skills.
Start with focus. Focus on your goals, focus on your exercises, focus on the program, focus on the steps, focus on the phases, focus on the rhythm, and so on. FOCUS! This focus will lead to better feel. The combination of focus and feel will lead to better timing. The combination of good focus, feel, and timing will lead to better balance.
One Ride Away
Our One Ride Away 30-Day Challenge Program goes into depth about these four very important concepts. The program is offered to the public every couple of months. To find out when the next session begins, go to www.OneRideAway.com. The program includes daily video lessons, a member’s only Facebook group, as well as a workbook that is mailed to you. People who have taken part have had great success building a better partnership with their horse, while getting to know other like-minded horse people, and having fun doing so.
Email us at [email protected] for more information.