Please enjoy today's "Extra Flake"
Happy New Year! Forward!
A brand new year - even a new decade. It’s like the invitation to a first ride in a newly groomed arena. No prints to live up to. You have as much right to be there as an Olympic horse.
Years ago I rented a house on a horse farm and started helping with the broodmares. I was amazed to discover they didn't back up readily when asked. They didn’t refuse, but they balked, as if backing was foreign or long forgotten. It was as if they said, “We do forward.” An important mindset, especially if you’re the mom of a future racehorse.
Contrast that with a horse who's had too much groundwork. He’s lost his mojo, more focused on saying, “Yes, ma’am,” than on going somewhere.
Indeed, one of the hardest aspects of training is to keep the forward. The moment your attention wanders, the horse loses his push. Sure, he’s still moving, and maybe even fast, but he’s slipped out of balance and into front-wheel drive.
Steering troubles? Ride forward. Having problems with head position, leads, or even your lateral work? You’ve probably lost the forward. Nearly every problem you encounter with a horse can be resolved by a return to the balance that comes from riding forward.
I work on applying this to myself, too. It’s so easy to get diverted and lose uumph, to momentarily forget my purpose, to cut the corner, fall on the forehand. That sets me up to react or maybe even spook, becoming preoccupied with what someone said, or some other distraction.
An old word reminds me to kick on. Perseverance. Yesterday’s mistakes, last year’s regrets, have no place in this year’s arena. I’ll make new mistakes, but by God’s grace, I’ll make them in the context of “forward.” Want to join me? Let’s shake off last year’s dust and kick on together!
Speaking of ... I can’t wait to tell you all that’s ahead with Horses on a Mission this year. I’ve been working on a coaching membership, retreats and — drum roll please — a Horses on a Mission podcast! We’re nearly ready to go. Look for the newsletter in your email box next week! Thanks so much for taking the Extra Flake trail with me.
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