Trainers Have Bad Habits Too
The theme of this past week for me has been: "Trainers have bad habits too". I was riding a student's horse last Monday, which is what started this train of thought. I've been bugging this particular student recently about staying quiet in her hands, as she has a tendency to get busy with them. While I was riding her horse, I noticed myself for a moment being talked into doing the same things with my hands that I am always getting on her about not doing. I expressed that to her, "I totally feel what happens... When she fusses this certain way in the contact, it makes me want to get into it with my hands too. I have to remind myself to keep my hands quiet and to correct her with my leg instead, kicking her more forward so that she pushes steady into the contact. It feels like the right solution to fix it with my hands, but that ultimately would just make her fuss against it more and get more behind the leg."
My student sounded surprised and also in a way relieved. "Oh good," she said, "That makes me feel a lot better that it happens to you too."
Something about that exchange stuck with me. I think that often students don't realize that us trainers have bad habits too and have to remind ourselves constantly not to do a lot of the same things that we keep telling our students not to do. A lot of "bad habits" in riding are simply human nature. Take, for example, doing too much with our hands. Outside of riding, we use our hands for pretty much EVERYTHING in life. We don't use our seats and legs to steer our cars, navigate a computer, or to make dinner. We use our hands. Of course, when we're on a horse, it's only natural that our hands want to have a primary role in that activity too, like they do in the other areas of our life. Because it's human nature, we ALL (trainers included) have to keep reminding ourselves to keep our hands quiet and steady.
Hands has been a big one for me that I've been bugging myself about lately. Another is my heels and legs. In an effort to be loose and move with the horse, I have a tendency to get TOO loose and let my lower legs and heels bounce around too much, so I'm trying to actively stretch my heels down more to stabilize my lower leg.
Oh, and looking up. Always that.
We know that we shouldn't do these things, but they're human nature. This is one area where hypnosis can be super helpful. Our Hypno-Ride Confidence Building recording can help break our bad habits, by helping us visualize riding in the way that we want to (ie. for me currently, with steady hands and elongated, steady lower legs). While our unconscious minds visualize this, our body gets to experience those feelings in a way that's very real for the brain and can help to reprogram our riding. In fact... I think it's time that I go do a session myself!