Why oh why do instructors and trainers never ask how we are feeling? I have never met an instructor or trainer that asked me to express my current emotions before playing or riding with my horse. It's used all the time in equine therapy and therapeutic riding but when it comes to everyday horseback riding and training it gets thrown into the manure pile!
Sure they may ask, how do you feel about doing this with your horse? Or they may just ask the general question, how was your day? And then move onto the horse and its emotions. But what about our own emotions we bring each every day to our sessions with our horse??
Our emotions and thoughts change almost every minute! And sometimes we get stuck on certain emotions or thoughts and that hurt how we interact with others and our horses!
Now I am not saying horse instructors and trainers have to be therapists! What I am saying is to ask your students to take a few deep breaths before starting the lesson and to let them say what emotions are popping up. Having your students be aware of their emotions can totally change how a session goes with their horse!
We all know horses are so aware of our emotions and negative emotions will totally screw up any work we do with our horses . But now having a student aware of their own emotions and not just their horse, can be transformational!
When practicing an exercise and it is not working as well as it should, your student can say if their emotions are getting in the way or even you can ask that! From there you can pivot to something else and come back to that exercise when they feel their are in a better mindset!
As the equestrian community is starting to focus more on horse behavior/emotions in training, let's also add in human behavior/emotions!