Russ Edgington is co-owner of Edgewood Equestrian, specializing in rider psychology and horse behavioral science. Today’s feature is “Communicating Mindfully With Your Horse”.
“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that It has taken place”. Those are powerful words written by George Bernard Shaw. Communication is an integral part of each of our lives. We speak, we email, we text and sometimes we may even listen. None of these actions guarantee that we have a clear understanding of another’s intentions or that we have effectively communicated ours.
I recently had the fortune of attending a two-day workshop entitled “Crucial Conversations – Tools For Talking When Stakes Are High”. I found this workshop to be empowering for both my business and personal life. So, what is a crucial conversation? A crucial conversation takes place when there are opposing opinions, strong emotions and the stakes are high. We are all faced crucial conversations in our business, social and family lives, but few of us are equipped for successful outcomes. This is self-evident when we find ourselves having the same conversation over and over again. If you would like to learn more about successfully navigating crucial conversations in your life I strongly recommend you visit www.CrucialConversations.com.
Now, what does any of this have to do with riding and training horses? Well, while schooling my young and rather opinionated dressage prospect Kattrianna, I realized that dressage riders face a crucial conversation each time they begin a training session. Schooling leg yields may be at the top of your agenda, but your horse may have an opposing view. All too often riders resort to argument over reasoning and attempt to impose their will on their equine partner. More times than not, things do not go well and both horse and rider suffer consequences. These consequences may be mild resulting in frustration, but occasionally they can escalate to violence in the form of bucking, rearing and bolting.
Over the next few weeks, this blog will offer insight into crucial conversations you may be having with your horse. I have a few references ripe for discussion from my own training experiences, but I would love for you to join the blog and share your challenges and frustrations. Together we may all learn how to truly listen and understand how crucial conversations with your horse can lead to harmony, happiness and maybe even better scores in the Dressage ring.
Check back or subscribe to future posts and learn how to unravel the not so mysterious methods of communicating with your horse.