I often say to people your horse doesn't care about how well you ride or whether you think he's so much more talented then you can do justice, or whether he's not exploring his potential. These are people projections. What horses seek from us is Connection, Clarity, Authenticity, Leadership, Joy, and being Present in whatever we happen to be "doing" or "not doing" together. We tend to bring a lot of mental clutter to our horses and that clutter clouds our connection.
So let's break these down one by one:
Connection: Means taking the time to form a friendship and bond with your horse through exercises like Carolyn Resnick's Waterhole Rituals. Then taking that Connection to everything else you do with your horse.
Clarity: Falls under the "no mental clutter" rule. Being clear about your communication and intention and not worrying about anything else will create a pleasant and frustration free exchange between you and your horse.
Authenticity: Means being real with yourself and your horse. Not being perfect, being real. Acknowledging fear, frustration, limitations, negative thinking and emotions are a pathway to mental clarity and freedom to just be where you are each day with your horse without judgement towards you or your horse.
Leadership: is an a term which can mean a lot of things. In my world it means looking out for my horses needs as much as my own, mutual respect, Taking care of each other. and never putting my horse in a position where he cannot trust me to make the best possible decision with both our needs in mind.
Joy: should be present as much as possible when you are with your horse. Authenticity allows you to be with your horse and say, I'm frustrated right now, or I am angry or sad. This is ok, it's real. But don't take it out on your horse and don't pretend you are not having these feelings. You aren't fooling your horse. Recognize it and acknowledge it, he has. For most of us. Our horses bring us instant joy on sight. I know that my horse actually can uplift me from these feelings so he actually helps me feel joy. Remember, we are mirrors.
Being Present: Not only is this important, it is tantamount to your safety around a horse or in life in general. It is also tantamount to your richness of experience and connection with your horse and life. If you are not present, you cannot connect to anyone or any being. You are also not aware of the subtle exchanges that are so important to the deep Connection. The things I focus on in my time with horses are so small and fine and yet so big in effect on the whole, it is what I help people focus on more and more in my teaching. The little things that have a huge impact.
If you can remember things when you are with your horse, you will always enjoy the interaction and your horse will too. More oats for thought.