It’s okay to change your mind

This sounds quite obvious, but it can be surprisingly tricky. You can end up feeling pigeon holed into a box. People perceive you as something, as if you can your position on that, it can phase them. But it is okay to change your mind. It is okay to change your opinion on something based on new information. This is not being inconsistent. It is being open and accepting.

Some of you may have followed the brilliant Dr David Marlin on social media. If you haven’t take a look – click here! He is one of the leading authorities on the safe cooling of horses in the world. He is a scientist, everything that he says is backed up by genuine research. Yet, there are always people arguing with him about it! They are so entrenched in their own beliefs, their own ways of doing things that they can’t back down.

20 years we did things differently. They may have been best practice based on the information we had then, but we know more now, the world has moved on. Clinging to our old ways of doing things because we don’t want to admit that they were wrong, is foolish. We only learn by making mistakes. We can hold our hands up and say, “I used to believe that, but now I know differently.” This is not being inconsistent, or changeable. This is growth.

Some of the practices that were around 20 years ago are debatable to say the least. But they were considered the norm. Being able to change your mind, to grow as person, to have new views about things based on new information, is to be wise, to be open, to be flexible. To admit that we were wrong, that we didn’t know everything, is to be wise, to be expansive.

Don’t let other people limit your growth. If they say, “but you always did it like that.” Just smile, and say “so I did.” You don’t need to justify your changing perceptions to anybody else. You can grow and change constantly throughout your life, and the person who you ultimately have to live with, is yourself.

Learning to be an Equestrian, not just a dressage rider…

Guest blog by Jane Broomfield of Silverdale Horses

When talking to various people in the horse world, I get a little concerned when they describe a person that has just started their journey with horses as competitor in a specific discipline, for example, a hunter jumper rider, a barrel racer, or a dressage rider.

Take a moment to work out what that means…. from the first time they sit on a horse, they have already been put into a “class”….

The job of that first coach is to teach a new rider how to begin their journey as an equestrian.

New riders need to be taught a basic understanding of the seat, the connection between the arms, hands and bit, basic good position, and how to ride a horse that may not do exactly as you would expect.

Like horses, riders need to be treated as individuals… Not a one size fits all approach

I spend as much time as it takes with each client to get them secure in their seat. They need to understand the correct position of their bodies, use each aid independently and have an idea how to react when things don’t go quite to plan. This takes time and patience from all parties.  I explain that this is what is going to happen and it will take time.

Riders should not be rushed, you would not expect a runner to run a marathon after 5 training sessions!

Fix your position, before trying to ‘fix’ your horse

Like our horses, we also have a correct way of going, regardless of the discipline.  Even experienced riders need to check them from time to time, it is scary how quickly we can fall into bad habits.

Holding your arms and hands correctly is not just for dressage, its for jumping and all other forms of riding too!

A rider with straight arms,  hands below the horses neck and open hands means they have no real control, and a horse that lives on the forehand. Relaxed shoulders, elastic elbows, thumbs up and carry your own hands.

Shoulder, hip, heel line is for all!

Imagine if your horse magically disappears, would you fall on your arse?  Then, you will fall on your arse when you horse does in fact disappear! Because at some point they will!!

Practice your 2-point

Everyone  should be able to ride in 2-Point or  jumping position, you never know when you will need it!

Independent leg aids

The ability to use your legs independently and move your horse away from the leg is necessary for both the dressage and jumper ring, even out on the trails…. How else are you going to get close enough to the gate to open it without having to dismount!

And keep a open mind

We can all learn from each other and we should all learn how to ride a dressage test, navigate a round of jumps or ride gymkhana games, you might just learn something new!!

With thanks to Jane Broomfield