I recently watched a show on TV, Richard Winters Horsemanship. I don't have RFD-TV anymore so was happy to find something I could start recording again. I log onto Julie's website for her shows and Clinton Anderson has some online as well but I enjoy watching it on my big TV not just my computer screen.
Anyhow, I watched this one show about focused riding. One major thing that I want to share was an analogy made about riding your horse. Richard Winters stating you should ride your horse like you ride a car, look where you are going. You don't stare at your hood ornament, you look ahead, so why would you ride while looking at your horse's ears?
Sure this is common knowledge but the hood ornament thing just sort of clicked. How often do we riders watch the horses ears as we ride? How often do we focus on the ground? I think it's good to pay attention to the ears, don't get me wrong. They indicate attention and mood. In these three pictures where is Dani's attention? The first one, she's listening to me perhaps or listening to the tiny cat stalking her from behind. The second picture her left ear is cocked to the side, something has her attention up at the barn maybe. This last picture show's her looking forward toward the Italian flag. While it's still important to look at a horses ears to determine what they are being drawn to we still need to remember that focusing 3-5 horse lengths ahead is the best way to communicate to your horse while riding.
By constantly glancing at the ground, the fence line or my pony's ears I inadvertently shift my weight forward and that affects my mare's gait. This is something I know and have known. It just takes continued awareness to see what we are actually doing under saddle that could be causing some of our riding issues. Can staring at my mares ears cause her to tense up? Sure, maybe looking at her ears tenses my body and thus hers. I just found this simple comparison something I needed to share since I thought the idea was so cool. Hood ornament or ears...it's best to keep a good posture and keep our head and eyes up towards where we want to go in order to communicate better with our equine friends. Though a couple glances at the cute little ears is perfectly fine!