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  • Writer's pictureRachel Kerr

Friday Thoughts - teaching tricks and having goals

Below are some Friday thoughts to ponder upon...and that I ask myself when there is time to reflect.

Please leave a comment below, we would love to hear your thoughts about this or other equestrian topics!

Bob showing us his handy handkerchief catching skills :)

What makes us passionate about any particular thing?

As you grow older what sustains that interest?

How does life experience and age change those goals.

What keeps us going during the hard times?

Why do I ask these questions of myself?!

Because how I define my goals is how I define myself. My goals are therefore me!

When thinking about my riding, how do I define myself? My statement to myself is:

"I am a high performance rider".

This statement influences the choices I make and the decisions I make to achieve or maintain my goals. Without those goals...who am I?

More than ever this is an area of contemplation. The COVID 19 situation and family crisis have currently stopped me from my normal routines and therefore endanger my achieving those goals.

This is a very roundabout way to get to the subject of why should I teach my horse tricks?

Think back to the "I am a high performance rider" statement we started with and is my goal.

If I think that spending time teaching tricks is silly, not important to my competition goals, just for kids or amateurs, then I have been missing out on an important high performance rider skill.

Fundamentally the building of a deep relationship with the other half of my team that enables my goal, my equine athlete.

If I make this all about my riding skill and my horses physical talent for the job, where are the communication skills and trust that would bring those talents to flourish? If I only practice mounted riding skills, is that enough to get to my desires?

For me, the building of the relationship comes from time spent with the horse. The horse didn't choose the job after all, he/she has been chosen by me to be my partner.

You may have all the motivation needed to excel, but the other half of the team needs motivation also!

Going back to the ideas of relationship (horsemanship means after all, horse, man, relationship) being a big part of the riding partnership needed to be that "high performance rider".

To build relationships we need observation, communication and trust to be the building blocks.

What better way to do that than to spend time with the horse just being together without an agenda? Just watching your horse being a horse will bring a greater depth of understanding of their mind and needs.

Often we feel that we don't have enough time!

The pressure to get through the day and get everything done can steal from us the one thing that we need to make a priority. It feels like a luxury to be able to just hang out with the horse. We need to relabel this time as observation time.

As we spend time observing the horse, the surroundings and ourselves, crucial ideas and takeaways will filter up.

Our horses personalities and needs will become more apparent.

Then we add the idea of "tricks".

Teaching tricks, like saying yes or no, bowing, counting, crossing legs, turns, spins, backing up, dance moves, fetching etc is next step in building communication.

We can observe how the horse learns, what is easy and what is difficult for the horse or for the teacher to impart to the horse.

With R+ methods, we can teach the horse to become problem solvers, and give them skills to communicate with us.

We actually give them a voice through this process!

We can make the time spent with humans fun for the horse and that leads to motivation for the other half of the "high performance rider " team!

Now do your own "I am...." statement. Write your "I am statement" below in the comments please!

This may not be anything to do with horses. It could be " I am a producer, mother, artist, singer, husband, " etc.

Be open to the idea that teaching your horse silly tricks could lead you to many places in your life that are worthwhile.

#R+ #positivereinforcement #clickertrainingforhorses #horsesoflosangeles

If you would like to hear more from us and our R+ training methods please follow us on Instagram @LincourtStables. We also have several Facebook pages, @LincourtStables is our public page and there is a members only page also where we release additional R+ training content to our subscribers and supports. There is a $20 fee to join our members only group, if you would like to know more please send us an email.

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