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  • Elaine Sanders

How to Guarantee a Successful Interaction with Your Horse

Sometimes it can feel like a craps shoot with our horses. Shaking the dice, what’s today going to hold??

You go out to them, wondering what your day will look like, if it will go well, or if it won’t. Wondering if you’ll end up feeling good about it, or not.

If your horse does a good job, it’s a good day and we can part ways on good terms. If your horse resists and baulks, and misbehaves, it’s not a good day, and you part ways disappointed, frustrated, or put out.

You put all this pressure on your horse to decide what the day is going to turn out to be.

But what if you have it backwards? What if it’s not your horse’s job to decide what the day is going to turn out like? What if it’s your job? What if there was a way to guarantee a successful interaction with your horse?

Instead of leaving it up to chance, or your horse, or the planets being aligned, what if you took it upon yourself to intentionally decide how the day is going to turn out before it even began?

Here’s what I mean.

Imagine 2 different scenarios.

Scenario 1: You go out to your horse. You’re approaching her with the halter and wondering what the day holds. Is is going to be a good day, or is it going to be a bad one. You halter your horse and think, so far so good. Then you do some warm up exercises and it’s still ok, but you’re still wondering how it’ll all go. Then you tack up. Still good so far. Then you go for a ride and your horse has a big spook at some birds that flew up right in front of her. And then you think, ok here we go…it’s not going to be good. And you get tensed and worried as you can’t calm her down, and you try to salvage the good day, but you can’t because she’s still anxious.

When you get back to the barn, things have calmed down, but it wasn’t that great of a ride. And so as it turns out the day wasn’t so great and so you feel disappointed, frustrated and put out.

Scenario 2: You go out to your horse. You pause before approaching her and reflect how you want to feel about today. You decide that you’d like to feel calm and open, no matter what happens. Feeling calm and open, you greet your horse, and halter her. You remain calm and open as you do some warm up exercises. They go great. Then you tack up, feeling calm and open. You get on and go for a ride. Some bird fly out in from of your horse and she has a big spook. You feel anxious for a moment, then you intentionally return to calm and open. Your horse quickly calms down and your return to the barn. As you dismount, you notice how calm and open you feel about the whole day, and it’s very satisfying.

When you set out before your interaction with an intention on how you’re going to feel, you set yourself up for success, no matter what happens in the interaction.

- Whether the situation is easy or hard, you can roll with it. In fact you’re better able to handle whatever comes your way.

- It is easier on your horse, who no longer is responsible for you having a good day or not.

- It’s more satisfying for you because you are in charge of your own happiness.

- Your interactions end up being more pleasant because of your internal stance.

Before your next interaction, decide how you want to feel, and feel that way throughout. Notice just how much this changes the dynamic with your horse, and the feeling of the entire interaction. And wouldn’t you know it…you’ll end up having a pretty darn good day.

Here’s to You and Your Horse

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