We work with horses. Many are big powerful animals and can be intimidating to work with. We may love our horses but fear is a big factor that can come into our relationship and is not to be lightly dismissed. Fear often makes us aware of our own limitations and keeps us safe….hugely important. Sometimes, however, our fears can be because of an old accident or incident with a different horse and may, to some extent be illogical. Nevertheless, these fears are very real. But we can help ourselves.
As part of her clinics and online course, Alexandra Kurland shares some wonderful simple exercises that help the rider/ trainer become balanced over the balls of their feet, free up the neck and show the benefits of bone rotations. They also help us open up across the chest and, as Alex says,” fill our own space”. They only take a few minutes but make a significant difference to the human bodies and so I also incorporate them in my courses. They help us to become centred, grounded, stable and so, much more relaxed, comfortable and confident in our bodies.
When we got together in April, I introduced the Dorset clicker training group to Amy Cuddy….not in person, but via her wonderful TED talk. If you have a spare 20 mins at some stage, I can highly recommend spending them with Amy. Not only is the information she gives us fascinating, but so is her own story of triumph over adversity!
Amy is a social psychologist who has studied the effect of body posture on our brain chemistry. Standing for just 2 minutes in a “power pose” can increase testosterone and lower cortisol levels in the brain. This is just enough to reduce anxiety and increase confidence to allow us to “fake it ’til we make it”.
So, what’s a power pose? Well there’s the hands on hips, chin out, chest up, Wonder Woman pose. or the hands raised high in the air in the “I’m the winner” pose. Just two minutes are sufficient to give the boost that is needed.
Abigail, one of the course attendees, had taken this away with her from the workshop and practiced each day as her horses had their morning feed. She had found great benefits from this simple exercise, going to her horse in a much more relaxed and positive state of mind than previously.
So we added this to our daily routine with some great success….why not give it a go?