3 Things to do in a schooling session when you and your horse are stuck!

press pause rider with a plan schooling advice Aug 02, 2022

We all have those days when we feel stuck.. Sometimes the overwhelming emotions strike because our horse for whatever reason is confused or overwhelmed too. 
Tension and uncertainty can creep into our riding time and leave us a little lost.

First it’s important to recognise that it’s normal to face an ebb and flow of emotions and confidence levels, this is part of being human. It’s normal too for your horse to have days when they feel confused, unsure and perhaps uninterested in our requests!   
There are 3 things you can do to help you in the moment you feel stuck. If you practice these 3 things they will become a habit and your horse will begin to recognise the practice as a reset button.

1 Pause. Some riders like to think of it as pressing the pause button or a cue to ride forwards to walk.. The important thing is that this pause is reminder to you to regroup.

2 Check. This is a quick assessment of what’s happening in this moment with your horse. Are you both relaxed? What is your attitude like? How are you and your horse reacting to each other. What’s going on around you? This part is really about noticing how you both are.

3 Connect. This is being aware of how you and your horse are communicating with each other. Do you feel clear about what you are working on and does your horse understand the task? How are your confidence levels with each other? 

It is always refreshing to regroup and notice the conversation you and your horse are having. Did you notice anything that you need to act on? For example are you tense, perhaps your horse is reacting to your energy? In this instance being mindful of your breathing and choosing an exercise you both enjoy can work wonders for your partnership. 
When you restart, even if your press pause was short with perhaps a transition or a series of half halts, think about what you are going to do next. Be clear about your process and the questions you are asking your horse. Notice how you feel and how your horse is feeling. Breathe and Smile and use your new energy and direction to guide the conversation with your horse. 
Remember to always work from a place of praise and reward for both of you. Your horse needs to know that you notice their efforts and as a rider you need to be training with a positive mindset too. Training takes time and patience. When you face training challenges it’s okay to ask for help and advice.

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