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How do you make the most of the time you have to spend with your horse?

I’d like you to take a moment and think about your answer… when you are with your horse or practicing your riding, what makes you feel as if it was time well spent?

Time is our most valuable resource, we can’t get it back and we can’t create more. In today’s world, we all lead busy lives, and it can be difficult to slow down and be completely present in a moment.

But this is exactly what’s required to connect to our horse and make the most of our time together, whether that is riding, groundwork, or just being in the barn.

In last week’s video, we discussed how to focus on the quality of your time instead of the quantity of that time, because, as much as we’d like to, we can’t create more hours in the day.

Also in the last video, I shared a simple exercise you can use to start your ride to connect with yourself, your senses, and your horse.

Today, I’m going to give you an exercise to find this feeling before your ride even begins. You can use this as you bring your horse in from the field, as you walk with them to the arena, or for a few minutes as you prepare for your ride.

This exercise is simple, but can be more challenging than it appears!

Give it a try and I look forward to hearing how it goes in the comments!

 

 

 

Troubleshooting:  This exercise requires catching the rhythm of your horse’s steps but also asking your horse to keep their rhythm. It’s not unlike riding in that we initiate movement and then go with that movement. If you find that your horse goes too slowly make sure they clearly understand your request to walk faster and that you are not inadvertently stopping your own forward movement in an attempt to catch the rhythm of their strides.

Bonus Tip:  Once you’ve tried them separately, see if you can combine last week’s video of breathing in sync with your horse’s steps with this week’s groundwork exercise!

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Comments

29 Responses

  1. Thanks Callie. It’s always a pleasure to find new ways to connect with the horses. I will be practicing this today for sure. Please continue making these informative and inspiring videos and all the best of the season to you and your family and team.

  2. Will try this exercise…its been so rainy here havent been able to do anything
    Also what type snaffle do you recommend for a 2 year old…

    1. Sandra, this is a great exercise for rainy days! Most of our young horses are started in a soft, rubber bit called a Nathe bit, it is a great place to start!

      -Julia Burdy, CRK Training Community Manager

  3. I do this exercise as well, I believe it creates partnership. I also breathe out when I want my horse to stop, it works and both are relaxed before whatever we are doing that day. Thanks Callie

  4. On days when I manage to reel my awareness back in I find It calming to stop when I am about 6-10 feet away, bow then try to make a mental connection/ask and give permission/check and see if we are anywhere close to being on the same page in this musical.

  5. I do a bit of gentle massage with Auberon my 18 year old gelding. Doesn’t work with my two seven month old weanlings though!!!!!!

    1. Esther, they probably think you are trying to mutually groom them and I would get they try to get a little nibbly!

      -Julia Burdy, CRK Training Community Manager

  6. To help bring your mind into the present try this. Think of one to five things about each of your five senses that you are experiencing right now. What do you see, what do you hear, what do you feel, what do you smell and what do you taste? it’s pretty fun and it really helps you focus and think about what you are doing right now.

  7. Hi Callie. Sometimes with my mare I lead her and speed up and slow down so we walk at the same pace, extending it to go quicker and very slow. For me I find this a neat way to see how she responds to my energy and follows me. We transfer this to riding too.

    1. Amanda, that is a great exercise and what a fantastic idea to transfer that to the saddle as well!

      -Julia Burdy, CRK Training Community Manager

  8. Hi Callie. I enjoy watching your videos and I have learned a lot from them. Right now I’m doing mostly ground work with my horse because for several reasons. I’m getting back into riding after several years and trying to build up my confidence which I lost. I am working with my horse alone after having a couple of trainers where I was not satisfied with the way they were working with my horse. I’ve been working with my horse Gem who is a 13 yr. old OTTTB gelding walking around the riding arena as well as outside for the past 3 months and I feel I am finally building up a bond with him. I’m taking my time getting back into the saddle after many months. I work full time and so it is hard to get to spend a lot of time with my horse which makes me feel guilty. The winter weather here in NJ also makes it difficult and since there is no indoor arena where I board my horse I do exercises with my horse in the barn on rainy cold days. So I enjoyed this video about the exercise you did walking with the horse. Since I do not like to lunge my horse in a round circle, do you have any other ground work I can do besides lunging to put my horse into a trot? Thanks.

    1. Barbara, we actually have a course we are in the works of developing with Patrick King that is all about in-hand work exercises which would be a great fit for you and your horse. This time of year is really tough but you have started in the right place with working first on your relationship with him! What is your horse’s background? Please keep an eye out for the upcoming course announcements!

      -Julia Burdy, CRK Training Community Manager

  9. Hi Callie! I love this series….
    One of the things I do with our horses to get present and focused is a breathing exercise. After grooming, I stand next to the horse with my hands on their barrel. I begin to focus on their breathing rhythm and try to match it. Often what happens is the horse will begin to match my breathing rhythm :). This is an effective way for me to slow down, focus, and get grounded so I can enjoy whatever time I have with them.
    Thanks for all you do!
    Lisa

    1. What a great way to ground yourself during grooming to prepare for a ride! Thank you for sharing Lisa 🙂

      -Julia Burdy, CRK Training Community Manager

  10. I love this! I usually walk with my horse but I never thought about my breath and syncing steps! But what I do sometimes is slow my steps down and stop and see if my mare will follow my lead, by changing my posture and energy and sometimes I will increase my energy /steps and see if I can get her to trot w me.

    1. Love that idea Rachel, you’ll have to let us know how it goes 🙂

      -Julia Burdy, CRK Training Community Manager

  11. Thank you for this very nice display of learning to
    get connected with time and the horse, Callie. Your videos are very
    helpful to me and this one has prompted me to reconsider how I
    can be more focused on getting better grounded so that
    I can give the horses more quality time. Thank you !

  12. Great way to connect with your horse. When the mare I have now came to me, she had a lot of anxiety and worried about everything. To calm her and gain her trust, I spent a lot of time on the ground with her. Now I always spend some time on the ground with her before riding. Any kind of ground work, even just a few minuets really seems to help us focus. Thanks for all the good videos Callie.

  13. Hi, Callie
    I do not own a horse, or ride any particular one. Since I only took up riding 3 1/2 years ago (at the advanced age of 69) I decided that I wanted to experience the most that I can in my advanced years. Today I go on trail rides, in as many different places as possible. I have ridden 18 different horses in the last 3 1/2 years, at twelve different places, in 6 different states. Once I completed my lessons (more than three dozen) I decided to never ride in a circle anymore. I find an infinite difference in the character of the horses I ride. To me, that’s part of the FUN! The horses are fascinating and I am challenged to communicate with each one every time I ride. You have helped me in the past (via email) and I thank you ever so much.
    Ray G

    1. Hi Ray! Glad to have you in our community 🙂 Trail riding is great fun, and often some of the most challenging riding we as equestrians can participate in and takes great skill!

      -Julia Burdy, CRK Training Community Manager

  14. Something I do every week is, I walk different speeds with my horse, stopping and starting, step backwards, then forward again, sometimes slow, sometimes fast, and I do this on each side. I find that this makes them more aware of the consistent space I like to keep between us and keeps them engaged. But today I am going to try walking in sync with them. Thanks for a new exercise.

  15. Thanks Callie. I have used groundwork to increase my connection and improve my relationship with Molly. Last night we “danced” in the barn aisle. We start by facing each other. When I step toward her she is expected to step back, not fast , just at the same pace. When I step back, she steps toward me at the same pace. If I stop mid-step and change direction, she does the same (if she’s paying attention!). It’s a fun exercise for a rainy day or when I don’t have much time.

  16. I want to share something about being “present” with your horse, and how asking for the smallest of requests from them can lead to some awesome breakthroughs! I have had an 11 yr old OTTB for 2 yrs. He was off the track 2 months when I got him. I and my trainer have been working with him, and we’ve had our share of ups and downs. The last 2 months have seen huge improvements on our rides together. This week when riding him at one point I decided to see whether I could get him to just lean one way and lift a rear hoof from the ground. I’ve never asked for this before, but I applied a light seat aid to see what would happen, and he gave me the most effortless 1/4 turn on the forehand! I spent the rest of the ride seeing how lightly I could ask for everything: walk, trot, canter, halt, turn on the haunch, “give.” It was the most amazing thing I’ve ever felt while riding… and it started with being really present and asking for a very small thing. 🙂

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