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Dear gawd! What happened to my face?!

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  • Dear gawd! What happened to my face?!

    So I've developed this awful habit of making the ugliest face when I train horses!

    My mom has been helping out at the barn and she's brought to my attention that whenever I am riding or driving or lunging or long lining or ANYTHING, my face is screwed up into this awful squinty eyed grimace!

    I don't even know I'm doing it and when I am told I am, I immediately realize how terribly awfully horrifically my face is all crunched up!!! Does anyone else do this? Dear gawd, I'm so old I've lost my equitations face!!!! Help!!!
    ...don't sh** where you eat...

  • #2
    In Europe, barn managers were the ones floating teeth and teaching apprentices how to.

    We would back a horse into a standing stall, for shorties like me stand on a bucket, pull the tongue out one way and look in there, then the other and look in there again, run your hand in there and then get after it, once you knew what you needed to do.

    The horses of course were making faces all along and during all that, we would stand around with strained expressions, making faces, the one floating the most, but all watching also.
    In that situation, you could not keep a straight face, seems that you just had to move your jaws around, a bit like the horses were doing also.

    I wish we had taken pictures, it really was funny to watch.

    I expect maybe you are concentrating so hard, it reflects in your face in grimaces.

    There are some psychology studies showing that mimicry is an important part of learning tasks, teaching and related to empathy.
    Empathy can be an important component of teaching, as we do learn best from someone that engages us personally, not someone just imparting dry knowledge.

    I would see if you can relax if stress is part of why you make strained faces and if not, tell your mother to enjoy the show.

    What does your horse say?


    • #3
      Originally posted by winfieldfarm View Post
      I don't even know I'm doing it and when I am told I am, I immediately realize how terribly awfully horrifically my face is all crunched up!!! Does anyone else do this? Dear gawd, I'm so old I've lost my equitations face!!!! Help!!!
      Alexander lessons.

      If your face is "all crunched up," bet your shoulders and body are, too.


      • #4
        Founder of the I LOFF my worrywart TB clique!
        Official member of the "I Sing Silly Songs to My Animals!" Clique


        • #5

          Get that area botox'd now


          • #6
            I had one of my space cadet moments in the middle of my lesson yesterday. Trainer's telling me to be more aware of my heels down over the fence and I just thought, "I don't have a freaking clue what ANY part of me is doing over a fence!"

            Then I realized, yeah i do. I know about what my arms and hands are doing, i know for the most part what my legs are doing, I'm aware of my back position.... It's my FACE that I can't even begin to picture in my head. Is my mouth open? Puckered up? Frowning or clear forehead? Do I have a game face, or is it more deer-in-headlights? Do I look as clueless as I feel (usually after the second fence, when I'm like, "crap, what was the next jump? Am I lost already?!")

            But not sure if I care to know the answers to those questions...

            (Except I DO know I need to raise my line of vision, soften my eyes a la Sally Swift... That much I can imagine needs fixin!)


            • #7
              I do the same thing. I tend to bite my lower lip, so a lot of times my pictures look ridiculous. I also rarely smile when riding/showing. Have been working on it as my trainer smiles all the time (she is just one of those smiley people), and while she's never said anything, I'd like to look happier and friendlier - or at least not cray-cray!

              This is a picture from at least 15 years ago (forgive the awful borrowed helmet - I somehow forgot mine). My horse was bombing around this little course at mach speet and the old habit came out lol


              • #8
                Originally posted by Anne FS View Post
                Alexander lessons.

                If your face is "all crunched up," bet your shoulders and body are, too.
                in addition you might be holding your breath too. Try practicing having "soft eyes" and loll your tongue in your mouth to unclench your jaw, then you'll feel if your shoulders are hunched and scrunched and you can melt the tension from top down.

                you might really like Sally Swift's Centered Riding, the book can be found used cheap and its worth the time to read. Even when you're just on the ground and not riding.
                Being terrible at something is the first step to being truly great at it. Struggle is the evidence of progress.