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5 SIGNS YOU'RE DOING IT RIGHT!

Don Jessop

In the last article, I talked all about five signs you might be doing something wrong with your horse. Today I want to give you the signs you're doing it right.

Reader beware, you might just feel like a million dollars after reading this, in case you don't, I know how to make sure you do. Read to the end.

NUMBER ONE SIGN YOU'RE DOING IT RIGHT!
Your horse is easy to catch, easy to tack up, and is becoming more confident all the time.

There's nothing like the feeling of having your horse meet you at the gate. And subsequently not shift around nervously when the tack comes out. It says something about you, about how you work around your horse. If that's your experience, we'll done. You're doing fantastic!

2. YOUR HORSE IS RESPECTFUL OF EVERYONE, NOT JUST YOU.
The other day, some kids came to spend the weekend with us. Imagine a 1200 pound animal standing next to a 50 pound child. Was I nervous about it? Not in the least. Naturally I was attentive to the needs of the child and the horse and I always encourage safe movements about the animals, but was I worried my horses would check out and cause harm? Nope! I put in the training so my horse isn't just good for me, but good for you too. If your horse is progressing to this point, you're on track for sure. If your horse can handle kids and grandparents, congratulations, you're doing something right!

3. YOUR TOOLS IN THE TACK SHED ARE DIMINISHING, NOT INCREASING.
In the article titled "5 signs you might doing it wrong," we talked briefly about the accumulation of tools. It seems the horse industry has taught us that the better you get, the more tools you need. In upper level dressage for instance you don't just use one bit, you use two! AT THE SAME TIME! This is ridiculous! I've done it, I studied the benefits, I've ridden at that level and I can tell you, unequivocally, it isn't necessary. One sign you're doing things right is that your horse needs less to hear you, to understand you, to respond. Because more tools means less understanding and less tools means more understanding. I'm not saying throw away your tools. It's okay to use tools, but the goal should be to diminish the use of tools to prove your horse understands. If you can say, "my horse doesn't just do the maneuver, he truly 'gets' the maneuver and I can prove it by using less hand, less leg, less support," then at that point you are proving to yourself that you truly understand horsemanship, not just horse riding. If this is you, Congratulations you've just joined an elite club of lateral thinkers and industry changers.

4. YOU'RE ENJOYING THE IDEA OF BEING WITH YOUR HORSE EVEN WHEN YOU CAN'T BE THERE.
Do you day dream of being with your horse and practicing that next cool trick, conquering that challenge, or spending the afternoon in nature's beauty? If so, you're definitely doing it right. If you're avoiding that special time it means you've got what performance coach Tony Robbins calls "negative anchors" associated with the activity. It means that you have ended on a bad note too many times and the only way to change it is to end on a good note more often than not. This is tricky because not everything goes as planned with horses and when it doesn't you have to learn to change your perspective so you always feel like it's okay and you're doing great.

Just the other day I took a young horse out for his first trail ride. The ride was a disaster, but the experience was magic. How is that possible? I'll tell you. I had hoped for the best and at the same time expected the worst could happen. And when the worst showed up, I got off and worked on the ground. It took a while for him to chill out but by the end of the day, both of us walked quietly back to the barn and we chilled together for a long time to let the sweat dry. It was a magical bonding and learning experience I can't wait to grow from. It can't always be perfect and I can't let perfect be the determining factor for positive anchoring. I look forward to the next ride because we ended on such a good note. That's how I know I'm doing it right and you can experience the same thing.

5. YOU'RE SEEING YOUR DREAMS BECOME REALITY THROUGH MEASURABLE MEANS.
Day by day I see I'm closer to a goal or a dream. How do I know? Because I see the path. I made the path, I mapped the path, and I mapped progress points along the way. One of the main roles I take as a coach in my industry is helping others do the same. I want you to sit down and outline your dreams. What would you like to do, see, experience? Would you like to ride on the beach, bareback, cantering along through the ongoing tidal edge like the boy from "The Black Stallion?" Would you like to ride to the lake at the end of the canyon deep in the wilderness? Do you dream of riding piaffe and passage, not like everyone else with a frown on their face and tail swishy horse, but with smiles and energy fit for two happy athletes in harmony? How about lying your horse down or playing at liberty? Your dreams can become reality and the most effective way to make that possible is to map a progressive path starting right where you are.

Most of us look back a year or two and compare where we are now to where we thought we'd be and find ourselves disappointed. Sometimes that is inevitable, things can take longer than we expected, but most of the time, that happens because we never actually took the time to define measurable progress points. You see, it's not enough just to dream of the end result. You also have to dream of the middle result. If you can do that, you're doing something right for sure!

And please comment below. I love hearing from you! Don

Don Jessop - Blog Welcome

Hi! I'm Don Jessop

With Mastery Horsemanship

I write to inspire, educate and encourage you on your horse and personal journey.

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