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If we are doing things correctly, each time we work our horse should be better than last time. We are building on previous work. Each workout lays foundation for next one. Of course, if we don't have relaxation to begin with than it's not very likely that we will have progress. The twe go hand in hand. You can't separate them.
Now, what about us as rider. If we are tense, uptight, worried, whatever, that transfers directly into our horse. If you are worried about something and unable to shake it than it might be better to lunge that day rather than ride. Be realistic about it. How are you ever going to make progress if you upset horse. Now I'm not talking about letting horse get away with things, or spoiling, or just taking easy way out. If you really feel that you are not doing anything to cause tension in your horse, get some other opinions. Most of us are not vary good at self critiquing. None of us has time or interest in spinning our wheels for nothing. If you are not making progress, something is wrong. With amount of time, money, and effort it takes to bring along a horse these days, you and your horse deserve to do it right and make progress. Don't hesitate to get help you need. One of most common things I see over and over again is a parent who rides and has children who ride. They are more than willing to do anything to enable their child to improve but simply are unable to justify spending money on themselves. What kind of example are they setting for child? One that says it's ok to flounder around making mistake after mistake going nowhere. Think about it that way for once and you just might be able to do something about it. Remember they learn much better from example.
So you see relaxation is a crutial element for both horse and rider regardless of chosen diciplin. All of top trainers and riders value it because they know from experience how difficult it is to get maximum cooperation, positive performance results, and remain injury free without it. This is not a new concept. It is something that has been an indespencible part of training horses handed down through centruies. When so many who have gone before us place so much emphesis on this particular aspect of training, why would any of us feel that it isn't that important. We all need relaxation in both horse and rider for hunter/jumper, dressage, barrel racer, roper, etc. It is foundation that enables us to build everything else. Without a solid and stable foundation nothing can stand test of time. Build on a firm correct foundation and your work will enable you to show steady growth and progress with a much happier and relaxed horse. You have permission to copy and reuse this article provided there are no changes made to article and credit is given to author and link to his website remains in place. Please notify him by email if you are going to use this article. You may contact Bill Dunigan through his website: http://www.BarrelRacingClinic.com
Bill Dunigan has been teaching and competing in excess of 40 years. He has taught and competed in Barrel Racing, Hunter/Jumper, Eventing, Dressage and served as President of a local Dressage Association. During this time, he Fox Hunted four days a week with two different Hunt clubs, one of which he served as Joint Master. Bill qualified six years in a row for the World Championships with the National Barrel Horse Association.