Mercury and I are thinking the same thought here...

Energy follows thought...."Think" about that. What it means is, what you think, dwell on, worry about, or visualize is drawn to you and broadcast back out like a radio wave.

This week, the theme in lessons and training was overwhelmingly, change your mind, change your experience which of course goes right to your horse.

I caught myself not helping my situation with Mercury where he was spooking and I got mentally "stuck" on the behavior and it kept happening at the same spot in the arena on each pass. After about the 3rd time, I said to myself " why aren't you thinking about him going past this point calmly and thinking of the destination after the scary spot. As soon as I did that, He went past the rest of the ride with minimal fuss. Thank you Merc for the reminder to stop focusing on what was happening and think about what I would like to have happen.

A phrase I often say is "If you are not happy with a current situation, think about how it would look if it went the way you wanted."

Another statement I give to new riders is, If you think about falling off all the time, you will think it into reality. The horse will keep getting this mental  "text message" of you hitting the ground. And....he will think that is where you want to go! If you think about your horse spooking all the time, he will think about spooking etc.

It's human nature to get caught in negative thought cycles and also to want perfection and a feeling of being totally safe. So what if we went to the barn every time we saw our horse and said "We are perfect" and "I feel safe with you" or "My horse and I are not afraid" Every statement has the ability to move you toward the place you want to go or hold you in a "stuck" pattern.

Here is a list of examples of how you can switch your thinking which in turn will send a positive message to your horse.

1. "I am not a good/confident rider." Positive: I am becoming more confident all the time, I am a confident rider. Horse hears " I am not a leader" or I am becoming a better leader.

2. "I am stiff" Positive: I more flexible, balanced and strong everyday. Your horse hears "I am a good rider and getting better all the time"

3. "That transition was bad, my circles are horrible, I am terrible at "X" etc. Positive: These transitions are improving, My circles are so much better than 6 months ago, We are really improving "X" Your horse hears " I can never get it right no matter what" Or "We are having a good ride/liberty etc!"

I could go on but you probably get the point. The exercise is write down all the "Negatives" you say about anything especially goals and then write a positive statement that reflects the outcome of what you'd like to see REALLY happen. How ever long it takes. More oats for thought! : ) Let's hear some thoughts in the comment section!




Mercury and I having a Lively Conversation! The most fun ones!
As I have become more experienced in my approach to horses, I have learned the value of a Two way quality Conversation with a horse as I value a good conversation with a person.

I often see in my travels, People shouting, talking over, and cutting off their horses side of the Conversation. I look at it like a bad conversation with a person. I wouldn't like it if someone asked me question, then before I had a chance to reflect on it, asked me three more questions then just when I was about to "Try" to respond, cut me of and yelled at me (so to speak) for not answering quick enough and getting the answer right. I would start to not want to be in that conversation anymore.

 Being good with a horse has as much to do with Being a good Listener as it does to a good conversationalist and being a Quality "Leader".

My conversation would look something like this. I'd let the horse start by telling me some things and then I'd come in with an "I understand" and "I see your point" and a "I could definitely see how you could see it that way" and then a question like "How about if I asked you to do "X" "How would you feel about that?" and then I'd leave space for him to tell me how he felt about it. Good or bad.

So what does a bad Conversation look like? Well for starters it looks like "Talking or Making orders" too quickly with not enough space in between for your horse to read what you said, respond positively or try to change the subject. Trying to change to subject means just that. Your horse saying "Hmmm I hear what you're saying, but maybe we could eat grass instead or "fill in the blank"...

It could also look like your horse not being clear about your request because it was too fast or too complicated and needs to be spoken slower and maybe spelled out one letter at a time. Meaning break it down to very small steps.

And my personal favorite is Are You Speaking Clearly AND Thoughtfully. If you are unclear about how to explain your request to your horse, Don't expect him to be clear about it either. That doesn't mean you shouldn't try to do it if you aren't clear. It just means be as clear and precise as you possibly can so your requests are easy to follow. Imagine someone trying to explain a concept to you in a foreign language but they're not quite sure how to get it across....Sounds tough right?...Exactly.

I often look at the different incarnations of Natural Horsemanship and Traditional Horsemanship and they all are some sort of "Horseglish" or "Eqglish" if you will. You will understand if you've ever heard the term "Spanglish" It means no matter how good you speak "Horse", you'll speak it with a human accent and the accent of the place you're from and throw in a few Human words when you need them. That actually means our horses learn to understand "Horseglish" as well.

So Training or your time with your horse should be a great conversation. One that stimulates both of you, makes you both think, laugh, sometimes a whisper, sometimes loud, and sometimes lively and animated. But you both walk away feeling like you listened to each other and made strides to wherever you may be going together. Also remember, a conversation that seems firm and about yours or your horses "likes" and "dislikes" (if you know what I mean) can lead to a better working partnership just as it would between you and another person. More food for thought....


The beginning stages of Bridless Dressage

I have been gradually working on more and more Bridless work and have jumped and worked out in the open fields. I am aiming toward more Dressage precise work as we get more adept at it. In this video, I am working on a simple circle (easier said than done!) and walk, trot, and canter in a nice balance and bend.

What I like about this work is it keeps the focus on riding from your body (I'm still not used to what to do with my hands when there are no reins!), It encourages the horse to pick their own outline (or frame or head set). It is proof to me that a horse can go in a correct outline by choice and without a bit or any tack on his head for that matter. It is very free feeling and it requires us to REALLY communicate. The less equipment you have, the more clear communication has to be. It is an exercise in trust, communication, focus, calmness, balance and poise.

This work is a joy and has been very interesting to figure out how it can be done and exhilarating when it is actually achieved. More to come as always!

*Farah DeJohnette training does not encourage or promote bridless riding. Do not attempt this.