10 steps to your dream horse

airs_above_ground

I dream about ‘airs above the ground’

1 Think about your dream

What would your ultimate dream with your horse look like? What are you doing? Who is involved? Are you excited (eventing) or relaxed (trailriding)? Take your time to figure out what your ultimate dream really is.

2 Set goals

What do you need in order to achieve your goal (see #1). What skills do you and your horse need? Make your goals S.M.A.R.T. SMART goals Hippologic

  • Specific – target a specific area for improvement (e.g. dressage)
  • Measurable – quantify or at least suggest an indicator of progress (e.g. dressage test level 1 with X points)
  • Assignable – specify who will do it
  • Realistic – state what results can realistically be achieved, given available resources
  • Time-related – specify when the result(s) can be achieved

3 Learn more about reward-based horse training

Reward-based horse training makes the results (behaviours) very reliable. Antoine de Pluvinel (1552 -1620) already said: “You can never rely on a horse that is educated by fear. There will be always be something that he fears more than you. But, when he trusts you, he will ask you what to do when he is afraid.” In reward-based training the horse is allowed to ‘ask questions’ and make mistakes. He will simply learn quickly because he is rewarded by something pleasurable when he ‘gives the right answer’. That makes the horse looks actively for the right answers. In other words: he will be eager to work with you and do as you ask.

4 Divide your big goals into smaller goals.

Make a list of all the behaviours your horse needs to master. Make for each behaviour a list with as many steps as you can think of to describe all the building blocks of the behaviours you want to teach your horse. The smaller the steps, the easier it is to achieve them. Think about your criteria: when are you going to the next behaviour? And write down what rewards you will be using. Remember: it must rewarding for the horse. It is the receiver that determines the reward, not the trainer. You might be reinforced by money, I bet your horse doesn’t care about it.

[-> click here to learn more about dividing big goals into small building blocks <-]

 5 Set up for success

Make sure the right answers are made easy for your horse and the wrong answers a bit more difficult. If your horse outsmarts you, change the setting. Remember: it is your goal to reward your horse as much as possible!

6 Start training

Try it and prepare to fail. Try again. Every time you fail is it just another step closer to your goal. Learning is a process. Not only for your horse, but also for you as trainer! Enjoy your journey. Keep notes, see #8.

_reinforcingscratch2

This is rewarding

7 Reward the slightest try from your horse

Yes it is time to reward! Ask again and reward his successes. His successes are yours! Go to the next step after 3 times. Increase the difficulty slightly.

8 Write down your achievements

See this post to learn about 4 easy ways to keep a training journal! [-> Click here <-]

9 Adjust training where necessary

And don’t forget to give your horse a break or holiday. My horse performs the best after a break. It keeps fascinating me how well a break works. I wish I could give my horse only breaks and still perform.

10 ENJOY time spent with your horse.

Smile! Make pictures, poems, write a blog and enjoy even more! Enjoy not only training sessions, but also spent some ZEN time together!

Sandra Poppema KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

How to become a better rider in ten minutes

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERANobody knows better than a horse lover how spending time with horses or going for a ride can settle the mind.

Stressed out riders

The reason horse owners choose a full boarding facility is often a lack of time or just because of logistical reasons. I watched riders who came stressed out, straight from their work to the riding school, go for a ride and leave the place so much more relaxed. I noticed that in a lot of these cases the rider vents his frustrations on his horse in order to release his own stress. Who ends up with a bad feeling? Exactly, the horse. And me.

_hippologic_rijdenIt was horrible to see. Why? Because suddenly I recognized this process in myself. I realized that when I was stressed out I did not have as much patience with Sholto as I normally had. My expectations were suddenly higher and I wanted him to react much quicker than normal. I took it as a personal insult that he ‘didn’t listen’ and that highly  frustrated me. Now I know that I didn’t have the right ‘tools’ in my ‘toolbox’ to drain my stress. Knowledge is a powerful tool!

Relaxed riders

Of course not all riders treat their horses roughly in order to get a better feeling for themselves. I also watched a lot of riders who when mounted, within a few minutes the stress seemed to evaporate. Horse and rider could enjoy their time together. How did they manage to do this?

Becoming aware is important

One day, about a decade later, I was very stressed and I was on my way to Kyra. Normally I get more relaxed during my 20 minute commute to the barn. Not this time. And I had a ‘schedule’ to work on. I don’t even recall what it was, but it seemed very important at the time.

__hippologic_breathe_feel_relax_enjoyI remembered not only being stressed about my personal life as a new immigrant, but also something in Kyra’s training caused frustration. I became aware of my stress and stopped the car before I arrived at the barn. I asked myself these questions: “Why am I so stressed out?” and “Can I find a way to calm down before I arrive at the barn?”.

Meditation as solution

I parked my car near the forest nearby Kyra’s barn. I got out and walked into the woods and took a few deep breaths. Then I found a quiet spot just off the beaten path and I decided to spent 10 minutes meditating. I set my phone alarm for 10 minutes and decided just “to be” and relax.

Breathing, becoming aware of the moment, being mindful about my body and environment. Just 10 minutes and it made a huge difference. I became aware of the smell of the forest. I saw and heard leaves falling from trees. I heard about a dozen different bird species. I saw unfamiliar little birds flying, I heard joggers, dogs, insects flying and ants working. I even felt a little breeze which smelled like the typical forest smell.

I became very peaceful and relaxed. I remembered the stressed out riders at the riding school, years ago and I realized that making progress in Kyra’s training was not the most important to me. My relationship with her is number one!

Time to enjoy

After only 10 minutes I felt like a whole different person. And when I arrived at the barn I had recovered my usual patience again. At first I decided not to train but only enjoy her company. After a while it felt good to try to repeat some exercises we were working on. This was one of my best training days with Kyra._zon_hippologic_kerstmis2014

This experience felt very spiritual. It takes me only 10 minutes to meditate and get in touch with my feelings and let go of any worries. It feels like magic and I can recommend it to every horse lover!

Become aware of the beauty around you.

More tips

If you didn’t meditate before riding, you can still do some exercises. Centered Riding method provides nice ones, like ‘soft eyes’, wiggle your toes in your boots, relax your tongue, and of course: breathe.

What is your way of de-stressing? Please share in the comments below.

Join our Community!

  • Are you looking for professional positive reinforcement advice?
  • Do you want an affordable program?
  • Do you want to turn your equestrian dreams into reality, but you don’t know where to start?

If you have answered ‘Yes’ to one or more of the above questions look into one of the online programs HippoLogic has to offer.

Join our community for online positive reinforcement training tips, personal advice and support in training your horse.

Shape the community

If you’re interested to become a member of the HippoLogic tribe, please tell me what you want in this short questionnaire. Thanks a lot!

HippoLogic.jpg
Sandra Poppema, B.Sc.
I help horse owners get the results in training they really, really want with joy and easy for both horse and human. I always aim for win-win!
Sign up for my newsletter (it comes with a gift) here: HippoLogic’s website.

Take action. Start for free!

Book a free 60 minute Discovery Session to get a glimpse of a new future with your horse. In this conversation we’ll explore:

  • Your hopes and dreams and goals so that we can see what’s possible for you and your horse

    Key to Success in Horse Training

    Your Key to Success

  • Where you’re now, where you want to go and which path is right for you
  • What’s holding you back so you can make a plan to get these hurdles out of your way.

At the end of the call I’ll give you some ideas and advice for your next step and if it looks like a fit, we can explore what it looks like to work together.

Simply check the best time for you in my online calendar and click to reserve your free call today.

Follow my blog  on Bloglovin

1 Ridiculously Easy (and Rewarding) Thing to Do For the New Year

This is one of the best ideas I learned from Pinterest in 2014. I found it on a website meant for Moms. Since I live in Canada, I am now officially a “Horse Mom” **), so I tried it out. This year I started in September, but next year I will start on January 1st. That is tomorrow.

It is called The Good Things Jar and it said: (I quote from http://momscholar.net/2012/08/16/good-things-jar/ sorry the link doesn’t work anymore.)

“Start the year with an empty jar and fill it with notes about good things that happen. On New Years Eve, empty it and see what awesome stuff happened that year.”

[End of quote]

Since I am really an advocate of emphasizing positive things in horse training and riding, I bought a little notebook with cheerful coloured pages and a pencil. I choose a pencil because they never fail to write on damp paper, and my tack locker can be damp in winter.

Then, whenever I achieved one of my training goals and every time I had an awesome training session I took a minute to write it down on a paper and put it in my jar. My jar is now only filled 1/4, but next year…. it will be very full!

_jar_of_success_hippologic

Hershey clearly fascinated by this idea

Tomorrow, on January 1st, I will read them and I will look back on 2014. Then I will take the time to make a new training plan for 2015.

Happy New Year everybody!

Update: I wrote another post with tips to start a training journal: 4 Easy Ways to Start a Training Journal

*) In The Netherlands people with horses are referred to as “owners” or “boss” or in a cute way “little boss”, never “Mom”. As visual thinker I can’t help thinking about how painful it would be to give birth to a horse. 🙂 Only my wallet thinks it is painful.

Join our Community!

  • Are you looking for professional positive reinforcement advice?
  • Do you want an affordable program?
  • Do you want to turn your equestrian dreams into reality, but you don’t know where to start?

If you have answered ‘Yes’ to one or more of the above questions look into one of the online programs HippoLogic has to offer.

Join our community for online positive reinforcement training tips, personal advice and support in training your horse.

Shape the community

If you’re interested to become a member of the HippoLogic tribe, please tell me what you want in this short questionnaire. Thanks a lot!

_Kyra_en_ik_hippologic
Sandra Poppema, B.Sc.
I help horse owners get the results in training they really, really want with joy and easy for both horse and human. I always aim for win-win!
Sign up for my newsletter (it comes with a gift) here: HippoLogic’s website.

Start for free!

Book a free 60 minute Discovery Session to get a glimpse of a new future with your horse. In this conversation we’ll explore:

  • Your hopes and dreams and goals so that we can see what’s possible for you and your horse

    Key to Success in Horse Training

    Your Key to Success

  • Where you’re now, where you want to go and which path is right for you
  • What’s holding you back so you can make a plan to get these hurdles out of your way.

At the end of the call I’ll give you some ideas and advice for your next step and if it looks like a fit, we can explore what it looks like to work together.

Simply check the best time for you in my online calendar and click to reserve your free call today.

Follow my blog  on Bloglovin