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You Have to Do This Before Your Horse Can Improve

 

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 Welcome to Easier Movement, Happier Horses. I'm Mary Debono, your movement and mindset coach. If you'd like to have flexible, balanced movement or relaxed, confident mindset, and a joyful connection with your horse, you're in the right place. I can't wait to share what I've learned over the past 30 years of helping improve the performance and partnership of horses and their humans.

Thank you so much for being here. Now. Let's dive in Hello and welcome to easier movement, happier horses. I'm Mary Debono and I'm so glad you're here. My goal in this podcast is to help you discover how you and your horse could have balanced fluid movement or relaxed mind, and a joyful connection with each other. And one of the ways that I do that I help people get there is to take every day routine things that they do,

like leading their horse, grooming their horse, tacking up their horse, and do them in such a way that it actually stimulates improvement in the, in movement that it creates more flexible, balanced movement. It can undo past damage to body and mind. It could encourage relaxation and responsiveness can encourage and create a positive learning state and build trust in partnership because you're inviting your horse into the conversation.

Now that's pretty cool. Isn't it? So, in other words, you'd be doing things that you normally do, like leading grooming, tacking up, et cetera, but you'd just be doing them in a different way with a different quality of attention and in, so they could actually be life-changing and all those benefits. I just mentioned, they would apply to you as well as your horse,

that you can improve your movement, your body awareness, as well as your horses. You can undo past damage to your body and mind as well. You could become more relaxed and responsive. You could be in that positive learning state as well. And of course, building trust and partnership is a two-way street. So you'd really be creating a true dialogue with your horse.

Now you may be wondering, well, I do those things every day and I haven't gotten there. So what's up with that. Well, there's a particular way you do it to get the benefits, right? And it's to be really mindful to be aware. Now people use these terms all the time and quite frankly, they're kind of meaningless. If you don't have some strategies,

like how are you more mindful? How can you be more aware? What does that mean? What does awareness mean? Well, what I've, you know, I've been teaching this work for about 30 years and a great way to enhance awareness is to simply be quieter, to slow down and to start noticing physical sensations, notice how you feel, notice,

you know, what's different about your horse. So the key thing is here is you have to slow down and use less effort. And that's how you'll notice more. That's how you'll be able to discern like subtle distinctions and, and notice small changes in you and your horse. That is the, the key to becoming aware. Okay. And once you're aware,

then we'll build on that and you'll find that you'll be able to use these everyday things to really improve yourself and your horse. So let me explain a little bit why slowing down and using less effort is so important. Just say, for example, you are carrying a heavy box. You know, it, it contained books for example. So it was pretty heavy and a butterfly lands on the box and the butterfly flies off after a moment.

Well, you really, unless you saw the butterfly, you wouldn't know that because you're the effort to hold that box of books is so great that you can't tell that little difference in the weight of the butterfly. But now let's say you were holding a feather between your thumb and forefinger and you were holding it just very lightly and a butterfly landed on the feather and then flew off.

You could feel that because the proportion of effort, you know, the is, is so different. So that's why it's so important. The nervous system to, to feel differences, to notice distinctions, you really need to reduce your effort by a great degree. Okay? And then once you learn how to really feel things on a deep level and optimize your movement to be very efficient,

then you can use more power and more speed. But the first thing is to slow down. So one of the things, one of the main questions I encourage people to ask themselves constantly, is this, how can this feel easier? So it's just five simple, short words, right? How can this feel easier? So whatever this is, maybe this is haltering your horse,

right? Just say, for example, you're, you're going to the barn, you're putting your halter on your horse to take your horse out to the pasture, right? How can this feel easier? And by that, I mean, how can it feel physically easier? Number one, how are you holding the halter? So many of us, you know,

we think that, you know, we just do things rote. We do things habitually over and over again. And what we don't realize is the cause of a lot of our stiffness and aches and pains and problems is because we're using too much muscular activity, not too little. So in other words, we're fighting ourselves. So we often have habits of movement that,

you know, we have certain muscles that we keep chronically contracted, just habitually and learning to recognize that and letting that go. It can go a long way to improving the movement of your joints, allowing your muscles to be more supple and available, and you'll feel stronger. You'll feel more energetic, all those good things, but you need to slow down and use less effort.

So your brain can figure out that you can release those muscles and you have to do things new ways, non habitual ways. It's really, really impressive. So remember that. So if you, you're very likely, if you're like most people you're habitually contracting some muscles, so you should be constantly asking yourself, you know, how can I release more attention?

Where can I let go? You know, can I let go around my jaw, around the muscles, around my eyes? You know, my fingers, my hands, my shoulder, yeah. That's a big one. You know, my neck, my back, my legs, my ankles, my toes. So many people walk around crunching their toes.

Right? So think about this. You know, you can think that effort or stress is contagious because you know, what it kind of is. And it's think about, if you, for example, were to tense your pinky finger, right then effort, doesn't just stay in your pinky, but it spreads throughout your body. Your whole body knows that you're,

you know, unnecessarily tensing that pinky finger. And it's not even just your physical body that knows that your mind too feels that extra stress, that extra strain. Right? So in that way, it's very true. That effort or strain is contagious. Then what happens is now you're interacting with your horse and your horse picks up on that. There's that sense of effort about you?

There's that sense of strain of tension, maybe even anxiety, and it becomes contagious to your horse. So now suddenly your horse is a little bit, maybe more tense physically, perhaps, probably mentally as well. So it's, it's, you know, this goes both ways. So it's very, very important for your own health. And, and also for your horses that you store to get in touch with how much effort you're using throughout the day,

where you can release the effort of life. You know, even something like, well, in the pre pandemic days, we were traveling a lot more. I was teaching a lot of clinics and, you know, there's always so much to do before you leave for a trip. Right. And, you know, and I would find myself if I was starting to get stressed,

like, Oh, I only, you know, I'm leaving tomorrow. I have all this to do. I would say, okay, hold on. How can this feel easier? How can I make this seem simple in light and easy? And there's always an answer, right? There's always a good answer that there are things you can do to make it feel easier.

So this works both physically and emotionally. So the good news is that just like stress intention is, is contagious. Well, so is the feeling of ease of lightness, of harmony, of joy. And that's what I would encourage you to transmit to your horse, this feeling of ease, ease of physical movement, you know, mental ease, if you will,

you know, feeling more joyful, more optimistic, more hopeful, because just like we have habits of, of our body, we have movement habits and posture habits. We have habits of thought. So again, when you ask yourself, how can this feel easier? It's both a physical question and a mental question. How could my thoughts, support, feeling easier,

feeling lighter, feeling more joyful. Okay. So again, let's go back to the example with your horse. You're going to your horse, you're putting on the halter, right? How can this feel? Easier, ask yourself, am I present? Where, where are my thoughts right now? Right? Maybe you're thinking about something you have to do later in the day or that conversation you had with that person yesterday,

or this morning or something like that. Right? And you're not really there with your horse, so it can feel lighter. It can feel easier if you're present number one right now, start to take in the sensations all around you. What is your horse doing? Is your horse turning towards you? Is your horse turning her head away from you? Right.

Notice all these things, what are ears doing? What does her body feel like? You know, does she look like her muscles are tense? Does she look happy, excited maybe to go out? You know, what is, you know, notice her demeanor, her, her physicality, you know, start to notice and tune into small, subtle things as well as the larger,

more obvious things. Okay. We want to really refine your ability to notice distinctions. That's how you're going to get really, really good at this work and be able to be very effective at helping your horse improve his or her movements and emotional state as well. So then again, you're, you're kind of toggling between noticing your horse and noticing yourself, how are you breathing?

How is your horse breathing? Okay. Maybe you find you're holding your breath a little bit, right? That's not going to make it feel easier. Isn't it? So ask yourself things like that. Now you're holding the lead rope, for example, how does it feel in your hands? Do you have more tension than you need to, you know,

in your fingers, many people do, many people, you know, have so much tension in their hands, just habitually. Whether they're holding the lead rope, the rains, driving their truck, whatever they're doing. It's like, you know, there's just like all this excess tension, because again, it's a habit. So we go back to the question,

how can this feel easier? So where can you let go of tension, physical tension, emotional tension? How can it feel easier, right? How are you holding your shoulders? Can you release them, right? Where are your thoughts? Can you release that worry, right? Can you be present and just mindful with your horse? So this is the very first step in developing the sense of awareness.

And this will will impact not only yourself, again, your own movement, your own wellbeing, your own emotional state, but also your horse. So my, my homework for you, if you will, is to ask yourself that. So to think about routine things you do throughout the day, whether it's with your interacting, with your horse or at other parts of the day,

can you ask yourself, how can this feel easier? And then please, you know, either email me [email protected] Debono.com or, you know, DM me on Facebook or wherever. And let me know, let me know what you discovered, because it's really fun because you'll find out that there are things that maybe you've, didn't even realize you were stressing about either physically stressing or,

and, or emotionally stressing. And of course, they go hand in hand and you can find that you can help your life be lighter, easier, and more joyful when you ask this question. So thank you so much for joining me. I can't wait to share much more with you on the future episodes of the podcast. We're going to build on this.

You're going to learn how to help your horse and yourself move with, you know, more balance and ease and just feel better in mind and body. So till I see you next time, bye for now. 

Thank you for joining me for this episode of Easier Movement, Happier Horses. Remember to grab your free video masterclass for a riders at MaryDebono.com/rider.

You'll get three easy effective exercises to improve your back hips position and posture. People love these videos. It's important for riders and non-riders alike. I'm Mary Debono. Go have fun with your horses. Bye for now.

 

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