I don’t know about you but, as happy as we are for the rain, I sure got way behind on my yard work! I was mowing the grass around the house and got to thinking about Ray Hunt talking about a wheel barrow. Stay with me now! I was thinking about Ray talking about riding horses being like pushing a wheelbarrow because we use that example to help people understand how the horse works when operating upright and balanced. The wheelbarrow is the front of the horse and our legs are the rear of the horse. If our wheelbarrow has a load in it and we drop our shoulder to make a turn, we’re likely to lose our load. If we keep our shoulders square and our back relaxed and move our feet like we’d expect the rear feet of our horse to move, our wheelbarrow goes where we want it to go and with it’s load intact!
The same principle applies to pushing the lawn mower back and forth in the yard. As I went back and forth, I was reminded of riding a serpentine pattern where the hindquarters of my horse reached further than his front quarters in the turn. With my lawn mower I was trying to turn 180 degrees onto a new line and then push straight along a line parallel to the old line. When riding my horse in the serpentine pattern if I look around the corner of my turn for my new line, keep my shoulders square and my back relaxed, the rest of my body will help my horse find our new line. We can then stride ahead with straightness on our new line.
The lesson for all of us trying to improve our riding habits and our communication with our horse is to relax, look where we’re going, and allow what our body does naturally be the first thing our horse feels when we’re making a change in what we’re doing or where we’re going. We can always add more aids to help our horse but, it’s amazing how little we can do and how much our horse feels us change. It’s when we get braced and contorted that we have trouble getting through to our horses. Our advice….relax and allow your wheelbarrow or lawnmower to remind you how your horse likes to work!