The biggest separator between top riders from everyone else is that they are always 100% crystal clear with what they want from the horse. At all times.
Sure, we all want Grand Prix partnerships. But the ones who achieve those partnerships are the ones who can most readily identify what is missing–and what can be done to fill in the missing piece. Every. Single. Stride.
The more articulated the vision, the steadier your progress is towards achieving that goal.
I recently had a lesson where I was in a bit of a haze. I hadn’t slept well the night before and my mental clarity suffered.
As the lesson progressed, I began to quietly notice how much I relied on the feedback from the ground.
While ordinarily I just add the feedback to whatever I am sensing in the saddle, I began to use the feedback to tell me what I should be sensing. Then, there was this moment, where I blanked out on what I should even ask for.
Fortunately, my instructor stepped in and amped up her comments, and even suggested a few exercises for me to do.
I was lucky my instructor was there, but that isn’t always the case, when we ride, is it?
When we lose our clarity, whether it is from poor sleep, diet, mental exhaustion or we just plain find ourselves in new territory with a horse, we miss the opportunity to ride and train effectively.
If we don’t know what we want, how can we ask the horse to give it to us?
If we don’t know what we want, we miss the moments to teach the horse a better way to go.
If we don’t know what we want, we miss moments to praise horse for the improvements they did make.
Better to ride with crystal clarity for a shorter time, than to ride for a longer time wandering aimlessly around the arena.
The key is to recognize what you want.
How clear are you, in your own mind, about what you are after? Do you ride around with a general sense of where you’d like, or do you provide detailed feedback to the horse every stride because you have a crystal clear picture in your mind about what you want?