Doing clinics with your horse and having lessons with a ‘strange’ instructor in front of an audience is not always easy.
Sometimes there are lots of ‘Gremlins‘ present during clinics…. most of them exist only in our mind.
And those Gremlins, especially if we feed them, can make us uncomfortable.
Gremlins are saying: “You can’t do this”, “You’re to old/young/busy/tired/stressed/…”, “Your horse isn’t ready”, “Don’t make a fool of yourself “, “You’re not good enough”, “You will make mistakes”, “What will the audience think of you!”
Gremlins give you a lot to worry about and lots of excuses to NOT attend a clinic/course/lesson/workshop.
But you can be comfortable and change your circumstances by changing your attitudes of mind.
Doing a clinic is 20% physical and 80% mental, our Gremlins are often the only thing stopping us.
So change your Gremlins
Perhaps one or more of the following thoughts might be useful for you.
Whenever you are doing straightness training, always introduce your horse to his environment before you introduce him to the exercises, especially in clinics in a foreign environment.
In the beginning, put yourself between the risk (audience ) and the horse, so your horse has the feeling that you -as a true leader- protect thetwo-headed herd. Then the horse feels safe, starts to relax and you can get to work.
And remember: Leaders keep an eye on the environment, followers keep an eye on the leader.
One of the most familiar sounds of Bruges is the clatter of horseshoes on the cobble-stoned streets as tourists take a tour through the old medieval centre along the canals. At these tours a coach-driver explains the city to you.
In the beginning I was not sure to take a horse drawn carriage tour, but we had a good opportunity to observe how the horses were cared for at the special ‘stop’. Halfway each ride the horses are getting a rest at this ‘stop’ and here the horses are fed, watered and rested. All horses looked to be in good condition and were well shod.
So we made a tour and asked the coach man about his work instead of his city . Some drivers work every day, other drivers only work 2 days a week for the tour. Their horses don’t work every day: most horses work every fourth day (so in between two working days the horse can rest for three days). And drivers who work all week have about six horses to do the job.
‘Our’ coachman had a very good relationship with his horse and he gave us a good impression how man and horse – literally – WORK together in a good way.