Horsemanship: Raising the Human's Awareness

So much of our horsemanship can be improved in the time spent bringing awareness to our own behaviors and thoughts before we involve the horse. 

Many of western society's daily routines involve our balance being brought forward and a bit "collapsed"- such as sitting at a desk, working at a computer and often when driving a vehicle. 
Start to practice every time you approach a door at a store or a mirror in your home, that you look to make eye contact with yourself in your reflection. 

This simple act will begin to draw your body upward and centered with your shoulders over your hips and over your feet. Relearning to find your "center" without sitting on a horse, will improve your balance in the saddle, without having to think about it. It will also allow you to recognize earlier when you are not aligned, and you will make adjustments without compensating for the quality of the conversation. 

Also practice looking, especially when driving, turning your chin towards your shoulder in the direction you are about to turn, without leaning forward or towards the direction you are about to turn. 

I find many riders lose connection with their seat bones in the saddle because they use their entire upper body to turn the horse, rather than being able to first turn their head, then use their rein, without having to lean in the direction they'd like the horse to turn. 

I know these sound like two very simple tasks that seem basic, but I can't tell you how many times folks initially chuckle at these suggestions and then wind up realizing how often they are using their entire body to communicate with the horse, rather than being able to independently conversate with each body part separately. 

Once you begin to bring awareness to your own physical behaviors without the horse, you can start to make changes in your own patterns or manners of compensating in your own movement. 

Then when you add in the horse, it does not seem so overwhelming to "remember" all the details about your own body and how you are sitting.

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