Dressage Horse Training: Words Matter

Sticks and stones can break my bones but words will never hurt me.  We all heard this at one point or another in school when learning how to deal with a bully or mean girl.  There is value in this mantra as it is a tool to defend you when at the mercy of a less evolved soul.  This skill continued on in my military training experiences and having a thick skin was worn as a badge of honor.  Writing my book, Out of the Saddle: 9 Steps to Improve Your Horseback Riding, I researched and discussed the power of positive thinking.  I discussed moving past the negative self-talk we all have.  And, I challenged my readers to listen to the people around them to see how many people are truly positive and how many people come at life through a negative lens.  For example, ask a rider, “How was your ride today?” and hear back, “Well, I was not able to get the horse to give me a good place to sit or reach for the bit like I wanted but I guess it was okay.”  Instead of saying (and thinking) “My ride was great!  I almost got the stretch to the bit and now I’m closer to making it happen.”

So here’s what happened.  I was taking a lesson with Judy Farnsworth on her schoolmaster, Bo.  Judy very kindly suggested I should keep my shoulders more aligned with Bo when we were going to the right as I was overturning my shoulders right.  I am aware l over rotate my shoulders but it has become ingrained in my muscle memory so I told Judy, “You don’t need to be so kind in your correction of my position, I have a thick skin.”  Judy’s reply was, “The way I approach and coach you impacts how you approach your horse.”  This floored me.  Here I was still stuck in a personal space beating myself up about how I overturn my shoulders and giving my trainer permission to beat me up, too.  This very subtle nuance in Judy’s approach is not going to end up being subtle at all.  Words Matter!

Good Riding,

Tara, Author, Out of the Saddle: 9 Steps to Improve Your Horseback Riding

Out of the Saddle

Out of the Saddle

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