Be here and now. This is the basic concept for learning to be concentrate when riding.
In order to learn technique, better understand your horse and communicate with him in the right way, you must be able to be concentrate and always listen to your horse. You should not force yourself to concentrate, however; if you do, you will immediately find yourself tense, with a scowling face, set jaw, tight shoulders, holding your breath, with your center of gravity rising. This is hard work… Watch a child or a puppy playing: they are fully concentrated on whatever they are doing and happy to do so. Concentration may shift from one thing to another but when it is there, it is total, complete, relaxed and happy!
Some riders are able to work and to stay with horses in a deep state of concentration. They work silent and feel they horse moving. They listen to every sensation, every smallest vibrations of their horses. Their aids are subtle and gentle because they communicate deeply with their horse and don’t need to do noticeable actions.
How do you achieve this happy state of concentration? For some riders the path is more difficult than for others. Ouside elements batter at the door all the time: the stirrups feel wrong, a dog starts barking, your horse sees something strange behind a tree… The way to deal with this ‘intrusions’ is to accept them as facts and immediately disregard them without further considerations. Do not argue… you must think that everything is ok, the stirrups are ok, the dog doesn’t bark, nothing is behind the tree… Relax and breathe, use a panoramic sight, remove every negative thought and think only at you horse. There you are, concentrate on your horse, on the rhythm and balance and go on joyfully. Then let do something, an exercise, for example let do ride in a circle and try to do your best in order to relax your horse, let him extend his neck and put his nose down near the ground stretching his body. Working joyfully with your horse put attention on his emotions, on what he is saying to you and try to do your best in order to meet his needs. Focus on checking your position on the saddle (your feet, legs, hands, body, shoulders, heat, eyes…), on improving your balance and coordination, on what you want to do and how to do it. Develop your technique listening to you horse and trying to be with him in any circumstance. Take care on your breathe. As you walk on your horse, use your imagination and feel that your breathe is going down through your body. Breathe rhytmically and constantly. Correct and deeply breathing reduces tension in your body and the horse becomes quieter and more responsive. It is the combination of how your body works and the awareness and use of energies created through you and your horse that makes the feeling and trust in the pair.