Like I wrote on my instagram yesterday, you'd think that after nearly 5 years I would have figured Vallu out by now, but no not yet... 🙄 🤔 Vallu apparently will never fail to keep me grounded and continuously learning about riding and owning horses. And the lesson that I learnt last week? That he is incredibly sensitive to my emotions (good and bad) which means I need to work a lot harder on making sure I only bring my A game to every ride so that he never has to feel me being tense or worried. I read somewhere a few weeks ago that horsemanship is about thinking and that horsemanship is about understanding and seeing things from a horse's point of view. Well I've certainly learnt to see things from his point of view!
"Perhaps a more confident rider, who notices the horse is nervous, is able to control his or her own tension or nervousness."
One of the reasons why I have spent the last month really focussing on getting my heels to STAY DOWN is because I read this a while ago: "when the heels are down it forces a deep seat, it shows control and confidence since rider instinct is to point the toes down (fetal position from fear)." If your heels are down, it gives you a deeper seat which makes you more secure in the saddle which results in you feeling more comfortable and confident that the horse senses and therefore is able to relax. And this has really really worked for us. As well as this, I've also had to change my posture a little bit as my back had been too straight meaning that I wasn't able to sit as deep as I could. On Saturday when Vallu spooked at the sound of a gunshot (problem of living in the middle of nowhere with woodland and farmers surrounding you!) I was able to sit deep and stay secure during his buck, bronco and bugger off move so that in the end he only took a maximum of ten steps before I managed to stop and at no point did I feel like I was about to fall off because I was secure in my seat.
"Trust in yourself and trust your horse and your horse will trust you." By managing to sit tight to one of his 'worst' spook moves, I gained back a lot of the self confidence that I had lost in the summer when I fell off. Now this is where it gets a bit weird I admit but... It felt nearly magical that suddenly I was filled up with the courage and knowledge that I was not going to fall off. Since then, I have felt SO much better and SO much more relaxed. I guess my fall last summer really did have an effect on my self belief but I'm hoping the work done for this last month will have pushed me back in the right direction. At least I feel better, and that's what counts right?