Being a "Rider" instead of a "Passenger"
The one big problem my trainer has with me is that I sometimes act more as a "passenger" than a "rider." I know this problem is keeping me back from learning new things, I've been doing the same thing for MONTHS because I can't master what we are working on now.
I don't know what it is, I think maybe I get nervous and blank out. I'm not nervous about falling off or anything like that, I just want so badly to do it correctly.
Go ahead & be a total passenger
It's the pushing passenger "game", where you give the horse his head in an enclosed space, & rest your hands over the base of his neck, & only gently keep him at the gait that you want--he can go in any direction. You might find, like most people, that you're not so willing to be a total passenger. Consciously being a passenger will do wonders for your trust relationship with your horse, & will clarify the differences between that & NOT playing the passenger game.
You sound just like me a few years ago!
It's a matter of confidence, to be a rider, you also have to be very good at bluffing, and winning a debate. Know exactly what you want that horse to do, and just do it. You need to sign your initials on EVERY step the horse takes, own each stride, control where you want each leg to be placed. THAT is being a rider. If the horse wants to go left and brace, turn right and make it use those hind legs. There are lots of exercises you can do as well, that really force you to be a ride rather than a passenger ;)
Doing various exercises are normally for getting the horse to concentrate, but I think it will do well for you as well. Change it up, a /lot/. Change direction, change gait, and /ride/, and don't fall asleep mentally, but focus on eacdh change and what you need to do.
Position, precision, and practice have been my best friends. Precision is the aim, and the horse can't be precise if he isn't in position, and he can't be in position if you aren't.
My own two cents on this are, I can't figure out quite how to word, but in order to be a rider and not a passenger, you do have to take on more responsibility as a rider rather than just looking to everyone else as to what to do for a particular situation. For example, if your horse suddenly starts traveling crooked, you need to know that very first step which leg you need to move over to get him straight again. There's not always going to be a person on the ground to tell you how to do it. You need to take the basic knowledge, experiment with it and make it your own in a way that fits you and your horse. The bridge from passenger to rider is knowledge turned into action. Welcome to the rider's club! It's much more interesting than being a passenger.
Kayty nailed in on the head.
Because my horse is so young, I've had to actively change my energy and take charge so she will find her confidence in me, respect and trust me.
Its about paying attention to your horse, telling him where to go and where to be, and paying attention to your horse. Horsemanship is everything. You are not a passenger on a toy that carries you around, you are a person that your horse trusts and listens to. Its all about confidence.
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