“I wish I had more confidence when I ride.”
I hear that over and over.
Riders constantly wish they had more confidence in the saddle.
As if confidence were a trait that some people were born with, like green eyes.
Or something you could order on Amazon.
Want confidence? It’s available with Prime shipping. Get it by tomorrow evening!
Well, I have good news.
You don’t need confidence to ride well.
You need to feel resourceful.
Feeling resourceful means that you have the *skills* to handle whatever challenges come up.
And those are skills you can learn.
So, let’s stop wishing for confidence.
Instead, focus on developing the movement and mindset skills to help you feel RESOURCEFUL with your horse.
When you have a balanced, secure seat on your horse, your feelings of safety will increase.
And you’ll be more likely to stay with your horse if he...
Resting heart rate: 53. This healthy metric is due, in large part, to my personal trainer. But why did I, a female in my 50’s, hire a buff, 22-year-old dude to help me reach my fitness goals?
Well, there are the obvious reasons. For one, he’s easy on the eyes. As we run shoulder-to-shoulder, I can’t help but sneak the occasional glance at his muscular physique. If he notices, he never says anything.
Besides the superficial reasons, there are other benefits to working out with my guy, who I’ll call “BD,” since I didn’t get his written permission to include his name here.
First off, I don’t enjoy going to a gym. Never have. But put me out in nature, and I’m in heaven. BD is more than happy to exercise in the fresh air. That’s a big plus. We meet three miles from my home and we run and hike through the local hills and trails. Living in Southern California, the weather is...
The chestnut horse’s life changed so drastically, so wonderfully, that having the ability to pick up both leads easily is hardly worth mentioning.
Except that the story starts with a problem at the canter. And an upcoming horse show. A big one.
I was teaching a two-week Debono Moves equine workshop at a large, picturesque facility. Green lawns studded with shady pepper trees surrounded the large barns, and riders had access to trainers of various riding disciplines.
Horses enjoyed the ample turnout paddocks and many happily lived outside year-round. All in all, it seemed like a lovely place to be a horse.
Except if you happened to be a horse in Barn A, Section 2.
That part of the barn was leased by a trainer who kept his charges locked up in dark stalls, the windows clamped shut to keep out light and to prevent the horses from experiencing the outside world. The equines were always outfitted with blankets and tail sets, and sometimes wore...
Help me! Help me!
The man called out as he came lurching down the path, a rifle clutched against his chest.
I was hand walking my leopard Appaloosa, Spotzy, with a friend when we noticed the armed man coming towards us.
Quickly realizing that the man’s “rifle” was a realistic-looking pellet gun, we ran to help him.
The man had been bitten on his right hand by a large rattlesnake.
With the snake’s venom racing through his body, the man, who I’ll call John, told us that his lips had already turned numb.
And now he felt the numbness spreading. John was really scared.
And he started to freak out.
I knew that the quieter John was, the better his chances of recovering from the rattlesnake bite.
Since I seemed more adept at calming down the panicked man, my non-horsey friend ran back to the ranch to call 911.
(Yes, this happened years ago - before we all carried phones with us!)
Don’t forget, I had my horse...
Have you ever wondered if your horse is happy in his work?
Does responding to your cues make your horse feel good? Or is he simply conditioned to respond to your aids?
In other words, what’s your horse’s motivation for working with you?
Many equestrians never ask these questions. And that makes me wonder if they’ve ever questioned how they motivate themselves.
But you’re different.
You know that asking the right questions can transform your riding.
And your life.
And ensure that your horse has a happy life too.
So, let’s ask a few helpful questions.
Imagine that your garage is a mess. It’s completely disorganized. There are piles of dusty stuff EVERYWHERE.
There are things in there that you haven’t look at in YEARS.
You know you’d feel better if you swept and organized it, but it seems like So. Much. Work.
How do you convince yourself to clean out your garage?
Go grab two polo wraps, standing bandages or even a couple of hand towels out of your linen closet.
Then lie down on the floor and join Mary in a short, super effective exercise to activate your deep core muscles.
You'll learn how to both relax your back AND get stronger and more coordinated all at the same time!
As always, do only what's easy, comfortable and safe for you to do. Less is more!
If you'd like to improve even further, go grab Mary's FREE rider masterclass. You'll learn how to have a more balanced, independent seat - effortlessly. Don't delay. Your horse is waiting for you!
Some years ago, I walked into a sunlit, colorful living room in the coastal town of Laguna Nigel, California. The homeowner, a woman named Carol, was in her early 40’s and had shoulder-length, sandy-colored hair that was pulled back into a ponytail.
I first met Carol a couple of weeks earlier when she watched me give a hands-on session to her neighbor’s paralyzed cat. The unexpected result of that session—frankly, even I was surprised at what happened—motivated Carol to ask for a session for her own cat.
So here we were.
Carol introduced me to PJ, her sweet tabby who had been diagnosed with asthma about nine months before. Despite veterinary treatment, PJ’s breathing was still shallow and labored.
Not surprisingly, the cat’s behavior had also changed.
No longer friendly and out-going, PJ had been spending a lot more time lying under the furniture. He had stopped playing too. It was easy to see why Carol was concerned about her cat....
Part 1 – The Rider’s Habits
There’s one tool that I’ve seen help equestrians more than any other. It can help riders successfully navigate challenging situations with their horses. It can also help equestrians achieve long-term goals such as: improving riding skill, enhancing equine athleticism and strengthening the horse-human connection.
In short, it’s the best thing I’ve found for achieving physical and emotional harmony with your horse.
Are you curious about the tool I’m referring to? Good! The tool we all need is just that. Curiosity.
Since you’re reading this post, I’m guessing that you’re already a curious equestrian. You’re interested in helping your horse feel better in mind and body. But like all skills, we can become more adept at using curiosity.
In this post and the next, I’ll share how you can use curiosity to help yourself and your horses move and feel better than ever.
Let me start...
Part 2: The Horse's Habits
In Part 1, I introduced you to Gina and her bay Arabian gelding, Piper. Gina was frustrated that Piper resisted bending, especially to the right.
Gina’s trainer had demanded that she use stronger, more insistent aids, but that just created more conflict and unpleasantness between horse and rider.
When Gina consulted me, I noticed that she sat heavier on her left seat bone, which made it difficult for her horse to bend. This unbalanced sitting can cause back pain, stiffness and tension in both horse and rider.
I led Gina through a Feldenkrais® exercise that improved her body awareness and helped her to sit balanced on her seat bones. Happily, it also got rid of her back pain and sciatica!
But the next time Gina rode, she was disappointed to discover that Piper still didn’t bend easily. She was sitting in balance, so why wasn’t her horse bending...