Developing an awareness of energy states and dynamics is an important part of being able to discern good riding from bad, just as it is important in horse management.
Spotlight On Training: Appearances Can Be Deceiving
It is surprisingly difficult to be able to determine accurately the rapport between a horse and rider when watching them from the ground. The ideal described in dressage tests can never be 100% accurate because it is attempting to pin down an energy flow to certain physical 'truths', arguably the most contentious of which being that the horse's poll should be the highest point. All horse and rider combinations are different, and the 'right' and 'wrong' for them is particular to them, especially as the training process is a process, and what is right today, might not be right tomorrow.
The important part of the relationship to be able to judge is where the fulcrums lie.
A fulcrum is a fixed point of balance about which a lever can move. In the case of horse and rider, we want the fulcrum to be in the rider's seat where it connects to the horse's back, so that the 'lever' of the horse's body is free to move in balance and uninhibited around it.
If the fulcrum is in the rider's hand, which fixes the jaw and neck of the horse, then the horse's body is will be continuously running into this fixity, akin to a wall. This causes a distortion in the spine and hind-legs which is damaging for the horse and ugly to watch.
The only sure way of detecting the fulcrums is to train yourself to watch the energy flow of horse and rider. When you can see this, you can then see better and better how the whole dynamic is working, and whether there are physical restrictions in horse and/or rider which are limiting the expression and the harmony of the partnership.
The Parallels With Management
This awareness of the flow of energy around us need not stop there, it is in everything around us. The more we look for it the more we can see whether our horses are feeling good in their bodies and minds. We will value different things:
- The friendships between the horses as opposed to worrying about things which don't even exist, like what injuries they might sustain play fighting and galloping together.
- Our horse's feet, how they connect to his body and also the ground. Whether they are comfortable and dynamic and above all a part of the whole life force of the horse.
- The interaction that we are forming all the time with our horses, whether we can feel the trust like a balm which soothes our communications, or whether there are influences we have to address which are disrupting the rapport.
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