One of the keys to a successful ride is staying focused. Our horses will follow a powerful focus — and if we aren’t focused, they will focus for us, which might or might not result in the ride we expected.
In this lesson with Stacy and her horse Wesley, we started by playing on the ground to warm up both horse and human while discussing the importance of focus. We progressed to riding when Wesley felt relaxed and Stacy felt ready.
Planning the exercise:
Sharing a moment before mounting:
One of the ways to practice focus is to check in with different parts of your body as you ride. Pick something to ride toward that is higher than your shoulders and far enough ahead that you feel like you are going somewhere. This helps you keep your eyes level and looking forward, not down at the ground or at your horse’s mane. Keep your shoulders, belly button, hips, knees, and feet facing the same direction as your eyes.
Focus during a Figure 8:
Putting focus to a purpose — taking the horse to water:
Rewarding Wesley for a nice ride:
Focus helps your horse feel confident in your direction and leadership. If you are distracted and scattered, your horse is likely to be distracted as well. But when you aim all of your “focus points” in the same direction, you allow your horse to move forward with straightness and confidence.