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Spin Off on Note About Confidence (thought this would be fun): What are YOUR greatest strengths as an equestrian?

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  • Spin Off on Note About Confidence (thought this would be fun): What are YOUR greatest strengths as an equestrian?

    I loved the post about tips for building confidence and thought it would be a great thing for people to either share what they feel are their biggest strengths with horses (doesn't have to be actually riding), or to think about what they might be so they can remember that when they are feeling uncertain of themselves.

    I love social media, you can be connected to all of your idols so easily. I have learned of so many equestrians all over the place that I never would have known about otherwise, some of them really great people. Sometimes, though, you can't help but feel like you just aren't as good.

    I can honestly say that every single person I have ever met that even works around horses has SOMETHING that they are really good at. Some have that amazing sticky seat that can sit anything, some always land on their feet if they fall. Some are amazing grooms, braiders, clippers. Some are absolute pros at lunging or in hand work and can do anything from the ground. Some are talented at picking up subtle lamenesses that no one else would see, or at picking up on little things a rider is doing that effects the horse that no one else saw.

    So I wanted to create a brag post for anyone that wants to participate. What is your equestrian super power? What are you really good at? And if your first thought is "I'm not that great at anything", stop and really think about it.

    For example, I said this in the other post: I feel like I am a bad rider. I feel like I have to apologize for the way I ride whenever I post a picture or video (that's a whole other issue). But I have this weird superpower where I can pick out backyard bred horses that have the absolute best brains, and I am great at bringing along these babies so they have great manners and can be handled by anyone at any time. I'm also really creative at coming up with fun ways to help horses get past issues (one of those riders that has that perfect position that I admire and wish I had, told me she was kinda jealous of ME for this).

    So anyone that wants to share, please do!

  • #2
    I have ever met that even works around horses has SOMETHING that they are really good at
    earning lots of money so horsey could eat

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by clanter View Post

      earning lots of money so horsey could eat


      Followed by:
      I can scoop multiple piles into the fork without losing a single turd

      In all seriousness, I have one of those Velcro Butts, rarely come off.
      And I like to think I am pretty adept at reading horse body language & using the human equivalent to communicate with my guys.
      *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
      Steppin' Out 1988-2004
      Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
      Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015

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      • #4
        I'm old. Anything I do wrong I can blame on my age. But honestly, who goes around correcting an old lady? --well, one handsome fellow did on the hunt field awhile back --I was having a spot of trouble with my young hunter becoming a Springbok when he cantered. I tried a couple of things to discourage him from being vertical and lengthen his stride. Not much success. The young fellow [not exactly someone I don't know, we've discussed our favorite trainer before], said quietly, "Push him into the bit," --I'd been trying everything except ask for forward movement --ta-da --horse cured. By using my legs firmly, I pushed him forward and he lengthened his stride!

        My other great advantage is long legs relative to my size --36 inseam on a 5'9" frame. And I've been told that being thin helps with riding--up to a point --if I am too lean (old ladies lose their sense of smell and sometimes forget to eat), I get cold easily and don't have as much stamina.

        One other thing I think my horses appreciate is a basic (very basic) understanding of horse psychology. Too many horse people say things like, "He's being bad today." or "I don't think he likes to . . .", or "I think that's making him mad." Sigh. I don't think horses have the cognitive ability to "be bad" --nor do I care what my horse likes or doesn't like --I don't like feeding at -6 in the dark walking through ice and snow, so I really don't care if my horse doesn't "like" the horse we are riding with, the specific jump he's expected to take, or the venue where we are riding --he can suck it up. As for "making him mad," --seriously? If I ask horse to trot in a circle and that makes him "mad," he'll get to do it until he stops being mad. Then he will be rewarded when I stop asking for trotted circles. I hope that makes him "happy" because that's the only reward he's getting. His reward is when I leave him alone.

        And I kind of take back the last, "mad" part ---any time we are in the proximity of cows, my horse is happy. And he is clearly disappointed when we don't do things with cows that are present. He came to me from a cutting/sorting background --working cows was his great joy. I don't have any. Sorry, horse.

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        • #5
          I'm good at recognizing that the horse is behaving like a horse, and just needs to look at the situation from a different perspective. He's not being bad. It's always my fault, and my responsibility to change the behavior in a humane manner.

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          • #6
            I am a get-the-job-done kind of rider. It's rarely pretty, and sometimes even dangerous (that's rare anymore), but if I'm supposed to go from A to B, I _get_ there.

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            • #7
              Maybe not so much related to being a rider or a hands-on horseman, but I think maybe what has developed into my greatest strength as an equestrian over the last 15 years or so is the ability to detect horse related BS and deflect those who spew it.

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              • Original Poster

                #8
                Originally posted by Groom&Taxi View Post
                Maybe not so much related to being a rider or a hands-on horseman, but I think maybe what has developed into my greatest strength as an equestrian over the last 15 years or so is the ability to detect horse related BS and deflect those who spew it.
                That is honestly a priceless ability.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I'll soon be 54 and returned a year ago to lessons after yeeeaaaars without them (but still riding). I was so nervous that my trainer would think I was a hot mess. Over the years I spent more time training horses than training myself. I was very very pleasantly surprised to hear that my form is pretty darn good and that my hands are nice and light. It didn't take long for things to come back to me in a structured way and now I'm learning to jump

                  Also, I think I have the type of personality that works well with the young horses. I know when to push and I know when not to. I seem to be able to read them well and remain consistent which gives them confidence.

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                  • #10
                    LOL... cool idea. Mine is walk pirouettes. I'm a perfectly average amateur dressage rider, but somehow along the way they just clicked. I've now had 3 different trainers ask me to fix them on their personal horses and client horses.

                    My runner up would be basic lunging. Way back when I took my last lunging exam in Pony Club, Examiner commented that there was some magic in my body language that had made the horse I had drawn go perfectly for me - when the horse acted completely clueless with the prior candidate. Seems to still hold true.

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                    • #11
                      I am not the prettiest rider in the world, nor am I the best, but I can ride a wide variety of horses (different backgrounds, tendencies, training levels/holes) with a modicum of competence that has meant that I am very comfortable getting on an unfamiliar horse and feel reasonably certain that I won’t make a complete cake of myself. I can sit on an unfamiliar ride and generally ride it to showcase the degree of training it has (be it on the flat or over fences).

                      This is one aspect of my riding I lost sight of for years but really, really appreciate now that I am reminded of it (as I borrow horses for riding these days, so am at the mercy of others’ charity and scheduling). I am very fortunate to have so many people who feel that my riding their horse is a beneficial experience that there are a number of horses made available to me - and it all ties in to the above component of my riding.

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                      • #12
                        I think my biggest strengths would be that a) my first trainer spent a lot of time working with me on my seat when I first started learning to ride, so I stick like nobody's business unless something goes horribly wrong, b) like aregard said, I am also a "get it done" sort of rider, and c) (perhaps most importantly) I have a sense of humor when I ride.

                        I've got a bit of a lack of confidence over fences at the moment (got overfaced when I got back into jumping a few years ago, it's a work in progress), but on the flat (or even just the portions of a ride in between actually going over jumps), I don't tend to get angry or frustrated or tense when my horse is acting up/being silly/doing anything other than calmly going around. Usually I just wind up laughing while those things are happening (pretty sure this wouldn't be the case without my aforementioned stickability, but here we are) and my barnmates will make fun of me for the fact that you can literally hear me going "Uh-uh, uh-uh, we're not doing that" over and over again as I pass the gate when my horse acts up in the show ring (or just in general in the ring at home).

                        I'm not stupid - if something is dangerous or my horse seems like they're in pain, I'll absolutely get off - but for normal antics, I'm usually pretty relaxed and tend to find it more amusing than anything else, and that definitely seems to help keep things from getting out of hand if there is a big spook, or help the horses I ride learn how to settle if they're just generally tense under saddle. It also comes in handy because I have a 3yo OTTB, and, while he isn't a terribly spooky fellow at the moment (honestly, he has the best baby brain I've ever encountered in my life), he definitely doesn't need to learn to carry tension from me in the first place.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Edre View Post
                          I am not the prettiest rider in the world, nor am I the best, but I can ride a wide variety of horses (different backgrounds, tendencies, training levels/holes) with a modicum of competence that has meant that I am very comfortable getting on an unfamiliar horse and feel reasonably certain that I won’t make a complete cake of myself. I can sit on an unfamiliar ride and generally ride it to showcase the degree of training it has (be it on the flat or over fences).

                          This is one aspect of my riding I lost sight of for years but really, really appreciate now that I am reminded of it (as I borrow horses for riding these days, so am at the mercy of others’ charity and scheduling). I am very fortunate to have so many people who feel that my riding their horse is a beneficial experience that there are a number of horses made available to me - and it all ties in to the above component of my riding.
                          I could have written this exact post about myself. I rode for 17 years before ever owning my own horse, but in those years I rode everything from small ponies just off the pony ride circuit to OTTBs straight off the track. I feel very comfortable hopping on and riding pretty much anything. My trainer coaches an IEA high school team and I serve as a warm up rider at those shows and have gotten lots of positive feedback from other trainers/professionals in those situations (hopping on a completely strange horse and making sure it's safe and schooled for young riders). I'm not the prettiest rider, but I'm effective, and as someone well out of the equitation ranks, that suits me fine.

                          I'm also really good at quieting the hot ones. I have whatever the opposite of an electric seat is. It's probably the result of riding too many OTTBs when I was younger, but it's served me well with all the different types of horses I ride, including the babies I break and start.

                          Willow- http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pi...&id=1125720084

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                          • #14
                            I'm really good at noticing anything amiss with a quick once-over glance at a horse. I'm also pretty good at starting young horses.

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                            • #15
                              Love this idea!

                              I have a pretty good feel for what I need to do with my body when asking something specific of the horse - mostly I'm thinking of dressage lessons. Which is ironic, as I only started taking real dressage lessons a couple of years ago and it's never been very consistent! So during lessons, I pick new things up quickly.

                              I've also learned how to anticipate spooking pretty accurately, which has significantly improved my confidence as I can almost always redirect before it happens.
                              thebaybondgirl.wordpress.com

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Interesting thing to think on, OP. What am I good at? Groundwork. Something about it, I am just good with. I picked up ground driving in one day - watched somebody do it at a clinic and went home and voila! piece o' cake. I don't know why. I'm good with troubled animals. I am good with hotter ones too. I have an innate feel, and good instincts. I'm humble - I don't go around pushing and bullying my animals (people either), but I am confident in what I know and that does come out.
                                I'm good at listening. I listen to my horse and go above and beyond to be fair, firm and kind. I'm also open minded about training and horse keeping in general which serves me and my horses well - there are many ways to accomplish a thing. Learning as many as you can gives you a very nice toolbox.
                                I'm good at being a person my horse can trust and respect.

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                                • #17
                                  There is an old phrase about those good with horses, "you are half horse".

                                  Grandma used to say, you are not half horse, you are 99% horse.
                                  Not sure she always meant it as a compliment.
                                  You never knew with Grandma, she had such a fine, straight sense of humor.

                                  She did comment that horses seemed to be attracted to me.
                                  A new horse, that had never seen me before, would walk over and stand quietly by me as long as I was around, leaving other it was doing, be it grazing or moseing around with other horses.
                                  I always thought it was because I am so much shorter than most adults and that gave me an advantage with horses.
                                  Horses had to look down to me and I was maybe less threatening to them.
                                  Similar to asking a horse to lower their head to relax.
                                  Several times other trainers, vets, friends also commented that horses seemed at ease around me.
                                  Even under trying circumstances, like when others were losing their heads, mine were standing by me quietly.
                                  Sure has made it easy to start colts and train and re-train horses.
                                  No fireworks when everyone is on the same wavelength from the start and listening to each other.

                                  On the other hand, not so good as a competitor.
                                  Won't push a horse past it's comfort zone just to try to win.
                                  Happy with a nice go, wherever it places.
                                  Which is not why we have competitions.
                                  You are supposed to want to win.
                                  Earning points, money thru winning is the point of proving your horse and yourself as rider and/or trainer.

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                                  • #18
                                    Patience
                                    COTH's official mini-donk enabler

                                    "I am all for reaching out, but in some situations it needs to be done with a rolled up news paper." Alagirl

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                                    • #19
                                      I can train walk and canter pirouettes. Thanks to my old guy who never let me feel a bad one. I have a picture perfect feel in my body that I can use to help a greener horse understand. It sometimes makes me frustrated with riders - how can they not feel what they need to do?
                                      I also have the ability to picture gruesome injuries and how they might occur. I try to make that ability go far, far away when I ride. Like - if I get bucked off on this rock we are passing.....
                                      www.settlementfarm.us

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by dotneko View Post
                                        I can train walk and canter pirouettes. Thanks to my old guy who never let me feel a bad one. I have a picture perfect feel in my body that I can use to help a greener horse understand. It sometimes makes me frustrated with riders - how can they not feel what they need to do?
                                        I also have the ability to picture gruesome injuries and how they might occur. I try to make that ability go far, far away when I ride. Like - if I get bucked off on this rock we are passing.....
                                        That is called catastrophizing:

                                        https://psychcentral.com/lib/what-is-catastrophizing/

                                        All of us do it, but it can get out of hand if our brain doesn't learn to curb that, as you seem to do.

                                        Interesting that you have such a feel for how horses move and how to help them learn different movements.
                                        As a riding instructor, you smile when you have a student that is a natural at feeling horses.
                                        They tend to work with them on their own and all you have to do is explain concepts and refine their innate ability.
                                        There are not many of those and they make teaching fun.

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