I had a really cool moment while riding Chance the other day. We were cantering toward a small jump, I did not know where we were so I was prepared to sit still, hold, and add a step. Yet, Chance new exactly where we were; and more than that, I knew that he knew. I felt him tell me somehow, “I’ve got this,” and so we jumped.
It is moments like this that reveal how riding truly is a partnership. In that moment, I realized how far Chance and I have come together. Even just a few months ago, we probably would not have trusted each other enough to make that jump nice. We probably would have missed. Or he would have jumped, leaving me behind and snatching on his mouth. Instead we had a telepathic conservation to get over it. We have finally reached the point in our horse and rider partnership where we can use telepathy! All jokes aside, it is a major milestone when horse and rider can communicate through feel in a split second. We can sense what they are seeing, and they feel what we feel. In these moments, horse and rider become one unit. A centaur, if you will. Sorry, I could not help myself ;). But really, that is sort of what it is like when horse and rider truly trust one another. Horses will do what we ask of them, and so much more.
We humans often have this crazy need to completely control our horses, which is actually counter productive. Riding is not bending horses to our will, but rather cultivating a lasting partnership built on mutual trust. Horses will have our backs, if we trust them to. They will trust us if we allow them certain freedom instead of trying to micro-manage every aspect of the ride. And sometimes, they will even speak to us telepathically. 🙂