• Jennifer Renouf

From the Hind to the Mind

"Soften the hind to engage the mind", and just as equally to truly soften through your horses lateral you need to engage them mentally and have a thinking horse. What a change in mindset! I love this quote, Its a bit from both from Shane & Meredith Ransley. In recent months as Aurora and I have extended ourselves in the Level 3 ridden work this has become a real quandary of mine… How do I help my horse to be mentally soft so we can achieve the lateral softness I’m looking for?

This has seemed like a ‘chicken or the egg scenario’ to me. I’ve needed to engage my horses hind in order to engage her mind but also have her thinking left brained, not just reacting in order to truly soften laterally, so how can I go about achieving one to get the other?

Just because you can ask your horse for some lateral moves, a bit of sideways or a change of direction say, doesn’t guarantee you a thinking horse. If your horse is fit and athletic they will quite probably do the tasks you ask of them without any real effort or thought. So I found I had to start paying a lot more attention to how my horse was going about the task at hand.

It was when I really started thinking about softening my horses hind by softening through the whole horse, rather than just yielding it, that this all started to fall into place. I just needed to pay a bit more attention to my horse instead of the task!

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