When you see a wild herd of horses running through a canyon at a full gallop. Did you ever notice they barely ever run into each other? This is because they are so in tune with the flow of energy. They naturally follow it and go where it goes. This is something I find to be instinctive in all horses. I do find Wild horses or horses that are aloud to live in a herd understand it best. Although all horses communicate this way.
I've mentioned in other posts about how closing the distance will push them away and increasing the distance will draw them toward you. This happens because they are following the flow of energy. Now there can be times they ignore the flow of energy. If that happens it means they are testing the relevance of the energy itself, or they are testing to see if you have true intention behind this energy. Another reason you may not get a response is they may not recognize your authority and don't feel they need to respond. Having the foundation set is so important. You have to have a relationship built and you must be seen as the confident leader.
Once this is all in place and you know you have their attention. Wherever you focus your energy the horse will follow that flow. On the ground, once the foundation is set, when your leading your horse they will just go with you and not try to pass you. If you stop they stop. If you backup they backup. Without putting any lead line pressure. This goes even further with you turning into them, they should step away quietly and just go with the flow, and they will if they see you as the confidant leader. Wherever your energy is flowing they will go. Even when you direct and drive them out away from you, during lunging, or pushing on the hip to get them to turn and face you. A horse just naturally follows the flow of energy. (As long as we are clear with our intention and have their respect).
When we're mounted, we need to still be aware of this energy flow. We are not just sitting up there, kicking to go and pulling on the reins to direct and stop them. We need to direct them with an energy flow they can feel. Using the reins and a gentle bump with your legs only to correct them if they don't respond to the subtle body cues. At the same time we must be balanced and in tune with their energy flow. Anything that disrupts a smooth energy flow will raise anxiety. If we ask for a 90 degree right turn while the front right leg is in the air and traveling forward we have just interrupted the flow. What we want to do is be aware of every foot fall so we can ask for things at the opportune moment. In the example above we should ask for this turn while the front right foot is about to baring weight just before it is ready to push off. This will keep a smooth flow of energy.
Controlling movement from the saddle is as simple as staying balanced and keeping rhythm. Stay in rhythm with your horse and focus your energy where you want to go. It really is that simple. The horse feels you up there so well, every move means something. Now if you are a rider who never paid any attention to this, or you are a rider who has a very stiff core, then your horse has learned that they don't have to pay any attention to it either. We need to stay very supple and balanced, moving freely with our horse. This is where our communication skills we have been talking about throughout these posts come in handy. Getting this in the saddle must start on the ground. We need to get the horse paying attention to our body language on the ground first. If they are doing this well, when you are up on their back, they will still be focused on what your body language is saying using feel. Again it needs to be a smooth energy flow.
Our energy needs to match theirs, or be just slightly ahead of theirs. Meaning, we need to learn how to properly toggle our energy during communication. However we feel or act will effect our horse. We will cover this a bit more in depth in our next post. "Our Energy During Communication"
Thank you for reading.