Podcast Episode 17: How Important Is Rhythm In Your Horse Riding?

Love this episode? Make sure you leave us a review!! In this episode Natasha talks about the importance of having good rhythm when riding your horse and how to ensure your horse is doing the correct rhythm.
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Full Transcript Expand to full transcript


Today, we're going to talk about everything rhythm. Rhythm is on the first part of the German Training Scale. It is vital to training a dressage horse. We're going to talk about rhythm. We're going to talk about tempo. We're going to talk about what it all is, how it all works, how we do it properly and get it going. So let's get into it.


Today I thought we could talk about out, uh, the very first thing that I think about when I'm riding a dressage horse, which is what do you think? One of the very first things I'm going to think about when I get on a horse, what do you think I should be thinking about? But the very first thing I'm thinking about is what is the rhythm? Is my horse moving in a rhythm. So even before I go, I want it forward. Even before I think about, is it going or does it stop or does it turn? I want to know, does it, is it working in rhythm? So in a walk what's the rhythm of the walk ?walk is four beats. One, two, three, and four. Well, not an four because it's not that rhythm. It's this one, two, three, four. So if we were writing music, it's a four, four rhythm. I do believe is that right though? If I'm writing music for a walk, it's yeah. Good. Okay. Then we're going into trot. What is the rhythm I need to look for in trot, Phil, uh, to check if I was writing the music signature, that would be two four.


Does that mean two beats per bar? Like doesn't that mean that it would be slower? I don't know music very well. Trying to walk. Yes. And we know that the truck is a two beat goes one, two, one, two. But is it the time signature too? I mean, you could theoretically, cause then I wouldn't know if it was a quaver or Sammy or a crutch. It look at my old music. Don't worry. No one else is musically inclined either. So we're not going to get into crotchets and semiquavers and all these things weekly up to two beats. Exactly. We don't know how we would write it in music land. We just know it goes one, two, one, two, one two. Now I find the walk rhythm. Well, the walk rhythm for me a bit hard to find sometimes, sometimes it, um, can have a one, two, three, four, like it can, it can be on rhythmical.


I feel the trot rhythm is the easiest one to keep regular, like one, two, one, two, one, two, one, two, but they canter and everyone, um, go with the Cantor and tell me, um, what Bates it is a, Ooh, the Canter's really tricky to keep one, two, three, (123) 123-1231 (231) 231-2312 (312) 312-3123. So I find sometimes, especially when you start working with collection that you going one, two, three, one. one, two, three, one two three and it's just no rhythm to it. It's just there. There's one, two, three, and then there's a one, two, three and a half, and maybe you're even trotting behind and it can just get really, really messy. So I know in the cancer, if I'm in my head and one, two, three, one, two, three one two three one two, three, stop, stop, stop. And now, now, now, now, and I always stamped down with my heel on beat number one.


So it's beep beep beep. And then if I'm, if I'm, I'm like, is that rhythmical? Well, one, two, three, one, two, three one two, three. And if I'm cantering going one, two, one, two, three, and not being able to count with that stamp, then I know I'm in trouble. So it's really, really important that, Oh, I love it. We have, we have a music dance theater Bay, dark rock on Deb. I love it. I have year nine music theory, 20 years ago. Um, but I, I think I did get 80% in that class. I don't know. I am. Yeah, music theory. Um, but it's okay. We don't need to be music theater, um, music theory, geniuses to work this out. We just need to be able to have an understanding that one, two, three, four one two one two one two and one, two, three one two three one two three one two, three.


And you can see even like, when I tap it out, I bounce my hand up off the, up off the desk because it's that fat moment of suspension of that one, two, three, one, two, three. I'm like I fought, like we come down, but then we bounced back up and that's that moment of Canter. So I know what I'm learning dressage. I didn't quite understand why everyone was banging on about rhythm. It's like, well, you know, and who hands up, who gets a bit confused with rhythm and tempo. So rhythm is, is it how many beats per bar, if we're going into music into music theory. So it's, there's four beats to one, one bar or one stride, and then there's two beats, um, to the trot. And then there's three beats to the Cantor, uh, tempo. It's just how fast do those things happen?


So I can walk with a tempo. I, as long as I can stay in the same rhythm of one, two, three, four, but I can walk at a faster tempo. So one, two, three, four, one, two, three, four one two, three, four or one, two, three, four. And that's tends to be the Friesian walk when you hop on them for the first time. They're one, two, three, four. And so the first thing I do is I'm like, what's up. And even as I tapped them up, like stuff up their rhythm for a little bit, because that's how I apply my lot leg. They'll go one, two, three, four, one, two, three, like D as I use my leg they'll they might take a couple of faster steps and then slower steps, which now means that, that, that I'm a, I'm a bit in trouble. So I need to keep the same rhythm, but I can also play with the tempo.


And that's the trick you've got to wrap your head around when you, when you're riding dressage. So whether I'm riding, you know, massage or extended trot, it's still one, two, one, two, but what's the tempo. Same with the Canter, the tempo of the Canter slows down and collection. If I'm going to canter, pero at it, then one, two, three, one, two, three, because we're turning as opposed to one, two, three, one, two, three, one, two, three. If I was across the diagonal in an extended C antar. So do you just want to be playing with these ideas of rhythm and tempo and rhythm and tempo? And have I got the rhythm first? Don't worry about tempo yet. Have I got a rhythm? So you might get on a thoroughbred and, and it's just going to go, Oh, sorry. That would, yeah, they might walk like that or they might try it.


And they're like, one, two, one, two, one, two, one, two, one, two, one, two, just around the arena and truck, but it's with it's in rhythm. It's a rhythmical trot. The tempo is way too fast than what you want. It's not the tempo that you want, but your horse is still in rhythm. Same with the cantar. Yeah, one, two, three, one, two, three one two three one two three one two, three, three, one, two, three. It's a kind of rhythm to it. Um, and it's when we adjust the tempo that we can stuff up the rhythm. So as you play with the tempo, everyone keeps talking about, you know, with your dressage horses, you've gotta be playing with the tempo. You've got to be adapting, the tempo, you've gotta be playing with the tempo. Okay. But, and while you do that, make sure that you keep the integrity of the rhythm, correct.


As that's where the trickiness can come into it. Okay. I trust that makes sense. And so when you're riding this week, I want you to think about, um, adjusting the tempo because no matter where you are in your riding, you want to start playing with it, but really have it clear on your mind. So I don't know if you know what a metronome is. A metronome is something that keeps the beat, the rhythm again, please. I'm so sorry, Deb, where are you? Deb? She's cringing at me right now. That's not the right word for it, but it's a thing that it's like a clock and it goes tick tock, tick tock, tick tock. Um, and you can adjust it and say, I want you to give me, um, what do you tell it to do fail? Do you say, I want you tell it to go fast or you tell it to go slow.


So when Phil's playing piano, he sometimes sets it and it goes, tick tock, tick tock. And he knows that his brain he's got to play to that. And then he might adjust the metronome. And then it goes, tick tock, tick tock, tick tock, tick tock, tick tock. And he's got to play all those notes in between that tick tock, tick tock thing. And so that's what I'm always thinking about when I'm riding . I'm like, well, what's my metronome. What is my one, two, three, four. And when we get on a horse and like I said, you get on a, and then it's one, two, three, four. Well, my metronome is not set to that. I don't care if the rhythm was good. As in it's one, two, three, four. It's not set to my metronome. My metronome is one, two, three, four one two, three, four.


And how I know that that's my metronome for walk. I visualize or think about what's the walk that my horse gives me when I'm a leading him from the paddock into the stable at dinner time, we all know that walk, okay, that's the walk you want for your extended trot. It is a marching. Let's get somewhere. We've got places to be walk. And sometimes, yes, your horse might break into trot when you're leading him into dinner, but you don't want to run. So you're like, Whoa, come back to walk. So it's the biggest March yest. Let's get to the place that we want to get to. Um, but we have to stay in the walk. That is your extended walk in the test. And that is where I'm one, two, three, four. And I'm just screaming in my head one, two, three, four. And if I don't feel those horses legs moving with my metronome, my legs are coming on and I'm saying, come, come, come.


You've got to come to me. And then same with the truck. If I'm on, you know, one of the thoroughbreds. And it's like, I'm like an one, two, one, two, and clearly they can't talk that slow, but I'm going to really bring them with my seat and my half halts and my moon come back. Two one, two, one, two, one, two, rather than the one that you want to do. And then on the counter, I tend to have lazy horses. So I'm like one, two, three, one, two, three, one, two, three. Um, if I had a whole set was what did you do Tuesday? I'm like one, two, three, come back to me. So you always have an inner metronome, and I want you to start being conscious of what that is this week and I'm riding to it and then adjusting it and playing, and remember, keep the playfulness, keep the irreverence, keep the enjoyment, um, that that's where the fun is in the writing.


So there's, there's a border or a cuts where you can ride the horse to before you flip it over the border or off the cliff. And then it's like, dog's breakfast. So you ride the trot that both you and the horse can deal with and that's rhythmical and yeah, it's regular and rhythmical. So you find that Trump, and let's say you're on a Friesian. And that tried is one, two, one, two one, two, one two. So it's rhythmical, but it's not the truck you want, then you sneak it forward. And you're like, come on one, two, one, two, one, two, one, two, one, two, one, two. Um, and then something you get, once you wonder and it's, and it's gone too fast or whatever, you just bring that back with. You see, remember when we ride horses, this was the biggest thing that my brain had to wrap around.


When you ride horses, you're not turning on a computer and I desperately wanted to turn on a computer. I wanted to say quick, I've got rhythm now. Cause I had rhythm. Therefore I'll always have it when you ride horses, it doesn't matter just because you've had all of it in the last stride doesn't mean that this stride will have all of that. Every single stride you're working on balance. And when I used to hear that word balance, I thought, Oh, okay, just like the horse is balanced on its legs, Fallon in everything. Cause you're either got too much contact when I'm off contact. You've either got the horse too much to the right or not enough to the right or too much to the left or not enough to the left. Your horse is either blocking to the left or blocking to the right. You'd like you constantly going, you just want equilibrium.


You just want 50% of any chance. You just want a softness in line. It's you just want an active hind leg. You just want the backup. You just want all these things. And while you have them, doesn't guarantee that you'll have them in the next stride So you're constantly juggling and going up. I've lost that. And the best riders in the world can, I wouldn't even say that they feel when they're 1% off and they fix it, they fix it even before it's 1% off. And when you're learning to ride, it has to go a hundred percent off before you go, Oh, I wonder if I should fix that. So like I remember with contact, my horse, his head would be up in the sky probably for two to three strides before I'd be like, Hmm, suppose I should work on getting the head back down.


And then, you know, I'd I'd as the head would coming up, I'd be like, Oh, maybe I should work on getting the head down. And now I'm at a point where I'm like, Oh, I can, that you're about to disengage. I'm gonna get you more through. But my it's very rudimentary tree. And very basic compared to the top riders in the world, I was talking about it today with a friend of mine, we were riding and I was like, Oh, if I can just get this quicker and better, the horse is going to be much quicker and better. So everything that your horse isn't is what you aren't. And there's nothing to be upset about. There's not a criticism it's, it's exciting. If you get it quicker and better, your horse will get quicker and better. And you're only as quick and as good as you are based on the experiences and the, and the learnings that you had yesterday, you can only be better and quicker tomorrow if you learn and experience something today.


So my riding journey is constant. Wow. What am I going to learn and experience to make me benefit tomorrow? And so that, that, so, you know, if someone says, was it a good session or a bad session? Those words don't exist because the sessions just are because it fits a bad session. I learned something and I thought about something and I'm percolating. Why it didn't go so well and I'm going to play and do something tomorrow. I might get worse again, but it will be different, worse. So to me, if I do the same thing, two days in a row, there's something wrong. I'm very unhappy. That to me is about sessions. So I have to be constantly pushing, constantly playing and constantly exploring like, um, I literally said to someone that they were like, what are you doing today? And I said, I'm literally hunting.


I am going digging for gold. I don't know if I'm going to find any gold when Might has come up short, we might just hit rock and coal. Um, but we're digging for gold. Uh, so. Yeah. I don't know if that helps perfectly. Yeah. I always think that the pur perfection doesn't exist because whenever you reach whatever you deem as perfection, there'll be another level. So I'm the perfectionist in the world. I know you guys, aren't happy. I know you live in a very horrible prison, um, of this constant chase to be, um, to have perfection. And the pressure is very, very strong to, to find that perfection. And it's great because it pushes you to find new levels, but it's also completely unattainable because there's no such thing as perfection. Um, especially in a sport like dressage, because it's not even your idea of perfection. It's someone else's, and they're not always clear on what their idea of perfection is and their idea of perfection, what they gave at ten four, which is deemed perfection in our sport. What they gave a 10 for 20, 30, 40 years ago at the Olympics, in the dressage sport. It's not, absolutely not what they would give a 10 for. So perfection is unattainable. Perfection is unrealistic and perfection is actually having no standards.


I know I'm pissing a lot of perfectionists off right now. People don't like me when I say this. Um, but so if you're not going to go for perfection, what do you go for? And it's what I was talking about before we have it all over the office. It's can I constant and never ending improvement? That's all that I expect. All my team love it. That's all I expect from you every day. Constant, never ending improvement. Don't you love it, Kate she's saying yes, but she is like the, the, the re the results and the work she gave me 10 years ago. I accepted 10 years ago. If she came in today with that, she's just, she knows that'd be like, get out, get out. It's not that I don't like her. It's just, that is not an acceptable standard anymore. Um, but it was acceptable when she did little bit at 10 years ago and who I was was acceptable 10 years ago.


She and I are both very, very, hopefully we better be different humans than we were 10 years ago. And what we excepted from each other and excepted from ourselves and accepted as a good standard is absolutely unacceptable today. And, um, yeah, th th th that's I I'm so grateful that I found this gorgeous human to be by my side for the last 10 years, because so many other people don't appreciate that they want to stay in the status quo. They want to stay in their comfort zone. They want to stay in their little zone of, well, this was okay, rock on. Like, I'm not judging, go rock on with that, but that is going to get you the same results that you got 10 years ago. And if you're not growing and growing, you're ripe and rotting, and I'm always having to be green and growing, which means that we have to live by that rule of constant and never ending improvement, which doesn't mean that we're always unhappy does mean sometimes I am.


No, no, no, but like, there's the constant, that's why I'm constantly saying, what are you grateful for? There has to be a gratefulness and appreciation, a love and an a, and a full heart of where we're at. So if you're learning to canter rock on, that's awesome. You need to be so grateful and happy. And so it's hard that you are learning to canter today in a year from now, how you canter today will be completely unacceptable and completely not the standard of how you expect to canter. But for right now, it's already out of your comfort zone. It's, it's, you know, right on the cusp of what you can do and where you're at. So as long as you're always pushing the cost, but I do it in my writing. I do it with myself. I do it in my relationships. I do it in the business.


Always find the cusp and push just that little bit every single day. So the fearless program is, is, like I said, it's, it's help. It's a program designed to, um, get you from feeling anxious about riding, scared about riding, worried about riding, feeling that Pitney stomach of, I dunno if I wanna ride, I'm scared to ride. What if, what if, what if, what if, what if something happens? What if I get hurt? What if it goes? Yeah. What if I do all that? So I, I figured out that, you know, I, I, something happened to me. I fell off my stallion. I broke a bone in my back and I suddenly had all of those feelings and I went, Oh my God, this is awful. The thing that I love is now the thing that causes me pain, the thing that I want to do is those are the things I don't want to do.


The thing that gives me joy is now the thing that gives me dread and pain and stress and anxiety. And so I was all messed up because riding was my, and my joy and my lights and my, my expression and everything that was good in my world. And now it was everything that was bad in my world. So I was lucky. I was, I'm very obsessed with success, thinking how our thinking, determines our world and determines our results. So I delved into all my study, lots of NLP, lots of sports, coaching, lots of, um, all different modalities and, um, uh, therapies out there and completely transformed my experience with my writing, had it that I could get back on that stallion. He backed me up plenty of times after that, but I never had any fear, never had any anxiety, never had any of those problems anymore.


So I solved it for me. And I went, Oh, well, I, now I want to help some more people. I wonder if I, I wonder if this works on other people. And so I started coaching some other people and it did. I could completely have them, you know, in five minutes, they're from literally, I've not cantered for 30 years to cantering around the arena, smiling with tears of joy coming out of their eyes, because they were doing something that they was scared to do, and they couldn't do for 30 years. So I went, this is awesome. This is what I'm here on the planet to do. I have to help riders find their joy. Again, I have to help riders find their, their, um, their love and their passion and, and have that, have that, you know, all of this negativity, E like, I don't know if it was just me, but like I said, the thing that gave me joy was the thing that gave me pain.


The thing that I looked forward to was now the thing that I didn't look forward to, and I just want to help as many people who are experiencing that get to the other side, like I did, and all my clients. So that's what fearless mastery is. And like, um, ah, sorry. Now I can't remember your gorgeous name. Um, uh, you mentioned it, doesn't just do that in riding. Cause I can't just do it in a silo in isolation. The program is designed to help you understand and who you are, why you do what you do, why you have fear, why you block, why you're scared, why you, you want to be in control, all those kinds of things. And then trance teaches you the tools that need to do to get rid of it. And then the last bit of the program is if, uh, if there's get rid of something and don't put something else in, you don't know what will go in.


So I deliberately install trust and self confidence, love, it's brushing fun, all those things that we want to have back in our riding, um, goes back into you. Um, but obviously it's, like I said, it's not just riding you get to, you get to have that as you, so how you show up in relationships, how you show up at work, how you show up in certain situations, all of that, um, yeah. Is what that is. So that's what the fear program is. Thank you so much for asking the question to be able to go, yeah, this is my race. Like who's, who's in my race, me, it's just me versus me. Whenever I'm doing something, I'm like, Hey man, it's Natasha in the red. Um, and in the other corner, it's Natasha in the yellow, It's just natasha vers Natasha. And I am so busy and so so much energy and focus goes into me versus me, me bettering the me of yesterday.


I couldn't even have any spare brain to even know what anyone else is doing. And so I always find that really interesting when we've got people that judge and people that complain and people that have the time to get on social media and give their opinions, which they're perfectly entitled to please don't get me wrong. You're perfectly entitled to any opinion that you have rock on, but it always perplexes me that they have the time, because if they have the time to judge someone else, I know I know enough about human behavior to know, fuck how much do they judge themselves and how hard it would be to be them to live in that brain that is constantly criticizing and constantly seeing what's wrong and constantly judging what's okay. And what's not, um, because if that's what they're doing to the external world, that's what they're doing to themselves.


So I feel so much love and compassion for those kinds of people, because yeah, like the fun and the journey and it sounds like you're there crystal, when you realized it's just you, it's just you and, and the, and when you can't miss it, then the next level when you can, except that you are totally awesome and totally fantastic and totally brilliant and totally perfect in your imperfections as well as, so that's, that takes next level to be okay with that. But then next level over that is you're okay with all your shit and all the things that you're sharing, you're shamed about and all the things that you're worried about and all the things that you hide and all the faces that you put on too, to make sure that people don't find what's really you and what's really, you know, when your deepest, darkest secrets and your deepest deepest worries, when you would say up to that, that's okay.


A whole new level as well, which is really, really exciting and you never, you never arrive. You never go. Okay. So maybe Dalai Lama is, I don't know, I don't have the time. I don't want to go on a cliff top and meditate for the next 60 years to hopefully achieve enlightenment completely. But all I know, I love exploring. Wow. I'd like, my journey is more maybe. Okay. And maybe I'm okay, even if I'm not okay. And maybe I'm actually really okay. And maybe weekly. Okay. Being really not. Okay. And, and, and it just keeps going and going and going and it's fun.

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