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To move

250 million people practice tai chi, and 200 million practice yoga world wide.  It's no secret that wellness is connected to relaxation, movement, breathing, balance, and flexibility.  And likewise, you'll find numerous articles and studies telling you that bad posture, lack of exercise, and stress will cut your life short.  It's no different for horses.  

I ran across this video while I was looking for footage for a project I'm working on, and I just had to share it.  In the video they're talking about the principles of healthy movement in the context of rehabilitation, but they have done a fantastic job of explaining and demonstrating the key concepts of all good, correct dressage. 

It's the rider's job to communicate,guide, and inspire the horse to make his OWN decisions about organizing his OWN body in ways that will relax, balance, strengthen, and supple him.  That's self-carriage!  

It should feel so good to him, that he is willing to try again.  He should be putting effort into our ideas, because he enjoys celebrating his successes with us and anticipates a positive outcome.  And while the horse is feeling his way through the exercises that we're guiding him through, it's our job to stay out of his way and not interfere by introducing physical forces that compromise his relaxation and balance.  

ALL of the rider's aides are physical forces that influence the horse's relaxation and balance.  The more uncomfortable the aide, the more it destroys relaxation, balance, and learning.

Have you ever tried to concentrate with a pebble in your shoe or a piece of hay in your shirt?  Good luck!  Have you ever tried to take a test or play a physically demanding sport with a toothache or back pain?  All of those experiences, whether they fall under the label of discomfort or extreme pain, change your chemical balance, your mood, how memories and information get stored during learning, the way your internal organs are functioning, and how well your body performs the physical task that you're trying to get done.  It's no different for horses.

There is a revolution in horsemanship happening all over the world right now.  It's a beautiful thing.  People are starting to see and viscerally feel the difference between seeing horses with their mouths strapped shut and the light gone from their eyes and the horses like the ones in this video.  As a horse person, I want something FOR my horses, not just FROM them.  ...and it looks like what you'll see here.

And to all of you who want something more FOR your horses, I say...

Vive la révolution!

 

A big thank you to Intrinzen for creating and sharing this inspirational video.

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