Welcome to "Riding In The New Age!"
There used to be people that actually enjoyed a mechanical horse and were looking for a mechanical system of training and riding. Also, too many of these people used to treat the horse as though he were a machine, without ever realizing the horse has an amazing mind of his own. Today, more and more riders have become disappointed with the old "push and pull" method of riding and are now looking for something simpler. These riders are now looking for something more adapted to this "new age" way of thinking and riding. The ideas and methods from people who work in unison with their horses are now the "rage", but this is not a new way of working with horses, in fact, it is centuries old.
Welcome to "Riding In The New Age!"
Riding a horse is thought by most people to be a purely physical act, however, the mental part of riding has been overlooked and rarely spoken of over the last hundred years or so. The true classical riders of the past used visualization while training their beautiful steeds, and somewhere along the way this technique was nearly lost. We now have to put back the mental part of riding into our own methods to recapture the unison we once had with our horses.
There is evidence that humans can communicate with animals through visualization. I, myself believe 90% of riding is mental. Which, allows the horse, in his own mind, to move and perform himself. In creative visualization you have the ability to use your imagination to create a mental picture in your mind. This picture must be clear, concise, and include all of your senses; sight, touch, taste, smell, mood, and emotion.
When you are using creative visualization, because it is easier to work with mental images than to think of specific muscles and body parts, we use mental imagery. Imagining that specific muscles and body parts are something else, to get the desired effect. (The book "Centered Riding" by Sally Swift is a perfect example of visualization while riding).
You can learn to use your natural powers of imagination in a more concise way as a technique and as an aid to help you create what you want to accomplish in your riding. Whether you want to be a better rider, more balanced, just a more skillful rider, or both and maybe you and your horse's performance needs a little, or a lot, of polishing. Creative visualization can help you achieve those goals. Consider the possibilities of how much better you can become as a rider by improving your mental communication with your horse. Oh, and by the way, this method can be used by any rider no matter what style of riding you do, English or Western, Dressage, Reining, and Barrel Racing or even what riding level you may be at beginners to advanced.
The only thing that separates a good rider from a great rider is what goes on in the rider's mind while training at home, preparing for a competition, and during the competition. The reason gifted riders never seem to rise above mediocrity, is because that rider has never been shown how powerful a tool the mind and mental training really is when training and showing.
The only thing necessary is that you have the desire to, and an open enough mind to try something new in a positive spirit. To judge for yourself whether this method is useful to you, study the principles and try the techniques with an open mind and heart. You will have to make yourself aware hat you are visualizing for a while until it becomes second nature to you again.
This is a way to approach learning and training which controls and improves physical performance through the riders ability to concentrate his own mind. It can only be effective if you try it out and practice it in the long term. If you only start trying it out for a short time it will produce very little results. However, used consistently, the rider's ability to concentrate his mind can be of great advantage to the serious competitor.
These exercises, when used consistently, while preparing for a competition and during the competition will improve your performance. Have you ever watched a top rider standing outside the in gate waiting for their turn? Have you noticed the deep thoughtful expression on their face as they are lost on a jumping course or trail obstacles? They are imagining, with every ounce of their being, executing the course with perfection and precision, and of course winning. Now, you too have taken the first step to thinking like a winner. The rest is up to you.
There are two things that I do and that are important in my working with horses while using creative visualization.
A.) I read as many good training books as I can that will help to keep me open to different styles of training as well as different methods. Remember that all horses are not the same and what may work with one horse may not work with another. That is why I am always open to different ways, styles, and methods of working with horses.
B.) I have a friend who is also tuned into creative visualization while riding and we both give each other support and help when we are working with our horses. The ultimate benefit would be to have an entire group of riders that are all in tune with creative visualization and all help each other when needed.
This book is about using creative visualization while riding and training your horse. Creative visualization allows the rider to obtain more by doing less. Just what is Creative Visualization? It is a technique of using your imagination to create what you want in your riding. Imagination is the ability to create an idea or mental picture in your mind. There is nothing at all new, strange, or unusual about it. In fact, whether or not you are aware of it, you are already using it every day. In creative visualization you use your imagination to create a clear image of something you wish to manifest, in this case you and or your horse's performance. You then continue to focus on the image regularly, making sure to give it "positive energy" until it becomes reality, in other words, you actually achieve what you have been visualizing. Remember if you go around on a horse, seeing yourself as a failure in your mind, that is what you will become in reality.
I don't understand how creative visualization works you say? Well, when we create something, we always create it first in a thought form. A thought or idea always comes before manifestation. For example when you plan to make dinner, you first visualize exactly what you want, and then you visualize everything you will need to make it. As you visualize each of the ingredients you either see yourself chopping, grating, slicing, peeling, pouring it out of a can, or going through the drive through at your local fast food restaurant. The same thing is true about riding a horse.
The wonderful thing about this technique is that you can practice it even when you are not on your horse. Such as riding the bus to work or standing in line at the post office. Visualization can also be used as a mental dress rehearsal. As a rider, you can create your goal, whether you are trying to perform a Dressage test, or just one of the movements, a perfect reining pattern, or a flawless slide stop. By visualizing yourself and your horse performing these movements in your mind, you will eventually get your wish. So, be careful what you wish for and make sure that is what your heart truly desires.
It is proven that the mind cannot differentiate between reality and imaginary. You prove that every time you wake up from a nightmare, sweating, shaking, and maybe even screaming. You notice that it takes you quite sometime to calm yourself down and tell yourself that it was just a bad dream. In your mind that was real so why not use it to your advantage.