Purpose and Rapport

Whoa! Whoa! was the case this week with my training on Abe. As you may know, we have been doing a few Grand Prix starts, and the changes have been a bit of an issue, as well as just keeping it all together in the test.

It got to a crescendo last week, as I had a weekend off competing when I had to sit back and realise – hang on – this isn’t fun anymore. And by fun I’m not saying it’s always fun riding and training, but this had got to a point where Abe and I were fighting each other, and not really liking each other that much – and both of us quite annoyed at each other. That’s where I STOPPED. Straight away. Hang on! Me and Abe fighting?!?!? We are on the SAME side! We want the same things – ok, so I want to win Grand Prix with 100% and he wants to eat lucerne hay all day – maybe not the exact same thing! But we have a relationship where I look after him, and he looks after me. Where I want to ride well, and he wants to go well for me. A relationship that is fun, giving, allowing, forgiving and helpful.

This wasn’t us – it was hard, mean and just slogging it out.

So I got back on this week, and said ok – the outcome for this session is not to get my changes, not to get better 1/2 pass, not to be perfect. The goal is to have fun, and both of us be smiling and happy at the end of the session. And we did, and of course we did get our changes, we did get lovely piaffe/passage transitions, and we were back working as a team.

It really reminded me how important it is to have PURPOSE when you ride. And yes, your goal may be to train half pass, because you have a higher goal which is ride medium, which after that is riding Grand Prix. But above this riding purpose is the reason WHY you ride – that canot be compromised. Your love for your horse, your relationship has to come first. And it’s not just some airy fairy thing. It’s not just because it’s nice. It’s because that’s where you get your results. That’s where you do your best work. Remember – dressage is about effortless, harmonious dancing, two living beings as one dancing in one thought, one movement. It’s only when you are in rapport with your horse that this can happen!!!!

To your happy riding!

Natasha Althoff Signature


P.S. I trust you enjoyed reading about my thoughts and experiences. If you are a member of the Your Riding Success Club or higher  – Click here to read more about you can make sure you have a connection and rapport with your horse 🙂

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