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“Think About It”

me, and wants to make the change, they continue to do exactly what they have done all along. At those times, it is important that we take the time stop briefly, to review what they have been doing up to that point, to explain the change they need to make, and to have them visualize and to process the change in their technique before they continue. It may take one minute, two, or three. It may take stopping to review the same correction more than

to acknowledge and remember what the “new” way of doing it felt like. As a student, you should let your instructor know when you need more time, or a slower pace, to process a correction. Then use that time well to close your eyes, visualize, and imagine the feel of making the suggested correction. Don’t look around, talk, or let yourself be distracted while your instructor is reviewing the correction with you and while you are visualizing it. Before you continue, vow

one time. It takes whatever it takes. While I try to maintain a flow to the movement and energy of a lesson, it is equally important that we take these brief “thinking breaks” when necessary. Once the student has successfully made the correction, or at least improved their technique, I will also take a brief break then, to let him or her relax,

to yourself that you will make the change, even if you do not do it perfectly. Remember, the movement or technique will feel different to you than it did before you corrected it, but that is good. Accept your instructor’s affirmation when she says you did the technique or skill well, and promise yourself to repeat it in the “new” way every time, as you


instructors, students, and trainers, we tend to focus on the “doing” of our craft, sometimes neglecting to take the time to mentally process the changes we may need to make in order to improve our skills or technique. After all, riding, particularly, requires the “doing” of many things simultaneously, moment by moment, in order to manage not only our own movements, but those of our horses in a balanced and athletic way. In a sport that demands so much from us physically, we can forget that improving our horsemanship is a mental, as well as a physical process. As an instructor, I am sometimes guilty of not giving my students time to recognize this. I’ll give them moment by moment feedback- saying, “That’s good, that’s it!”, when they are doing something well, or giving them a succinct correction when I see something they need to change. Some students are able to make the changes immediately, and to continue to the next movement without interruption. However, there are many times when, although the student has heard

22 HORSEBACK MAGAZINE - December 2013

Horseback Magazine December 2013  

Volume 20 Issue 12

Horseback Magazine December 2013  

Volume 20 Issue 12