Finding “Neutral” - The key to the heart of the dance with horses
Finding "Neutral" puts the heart you're looking for in the dance:
Finding neutral takes dedication and practice, but it's ohhh so worth it! I learned a long time ago that I am about the school of practice - continuing to refine the connection I share with horses which has given me an ability to enjoy sharing with others what I know about the training of horses.
Today what I want to offer is the secret to why I think my horses work so well for me. Finding "neutral" is the first thing you need to have on your horse once you have the bond and respect. I find many horsemen are weekend horse trainers. But if you want a dependable horse, it takes a deep commitment which takes more time than the occasional weekend. It reminds me of a story about a concert pianist, Arthur Rubinstein, who found out this fact.
I do not know if it is true, but I heard a story about Arthur Rubinstein, one of the greatest concert pianists of his time. Arthur Rubinstein was revered and loved by audiences in Europe. Arthur then came to the United States on tour and was received much differently. Americans were not impressed. The reviews were harsh and stated that Arthur was a mediocre pianist. This was based on the fact that Arthur left out notes and only played a version of the original piece. This was crushing to Arthur; he had only been admired and doted upon in Europe and he loved the admiration. Both the U.S. and Europe were right in their viewpoints. Europe was swept away by the brilliance of Arthur’s feel, touch and heart for what he played, while America wanted to see that he had mastered the technique of the piece that he was playing.
Arthur was devastated because of his ego. Up until this point, I was told, Arthur enjoyed the social nightlife through smoking, drinking and carousing with women. He was not devoting his time to the mastery of the piano because his work at that time filled his heart and soul. Upon reading his reviews, the story went on to say that Arthur took it so hard that he tried to kill himself by hanging. As fate would have it, the rope he tried to hang himself with broke. This event changed his life; I was told that he took it as a sign that he needed to change his ways and to become a true student of the piano. So he gave up his debauchery and began to practice in earnest.
Training horses, to be fair to the horse and to the art of horsemanship, needs to be given the time necessary - like the attention that Arthur gave to his piano practice later on. Horse training requires a consistent routine that the horse can depend upon, at least three days a week. Just like this exercise that I am going to be sharing with you right now on finding "neutral."
Finding "neutral" means a horse that is not nervous, feels connected with you in the moment and isn't wanting to do something else or be somewhere else. This attitude can be trained into a horse. This is what finding neutral is all about. It is important to find neutral in your horse and in yourself. We need to get away from the agendas we have so we can form a teamwork connection with each other. Sometimes this is difficult to do.
Here is my formula for how to connect with a horse:
Step 1 - Neutral: Before you ask anything from a horse, the horse must be relaxed with no agenda.
Step 2 - Focus: Ask for his attention. The objective when you get your horse's attention is that he stays relaxed.
Step 3 - Ask: Ask him to perform whatever you want.
Step 4 - Allow: Allow the horse to perform without your influence. The minute he starts following your lead, quiet your aids and let him perform.
This is working from the ground, and is very similar to riding. The secret is practicing neutral and taking the time to really establish this in you and your horse.
Here is a video that might help:
If you enjoyed this lesson and would like to learn even more, there are still a few spots available in my next Online Waterhole Rituals Course, which is starting this Sunday, March 24th and Monday, March 25th. If you want a personal program designed for you and your horse and want to work directly with me, the Insider Circle is the class you want to get into. If you want to observe and follow the program on the Insider Circle class in order to get a feel for the Waterhole Rituals, I suggest that the Extended Circle is the ideal way to learn. First-time students usually start with the Extended Circle Class and then move into the Insider Circle Class.
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Have a great weekend and look out for new horse and human sightings. May the horse be with you!