How to deal with imperfect conditions?
- What if your arena turns into a swimming pool every time it rains?
- And afterwards are in the mud?
- What to do if you are covered in snow?
- What if your outdoor arena is covered in a sheet of ice?
- And the ground is slick and slippery?
- What if you have nowhere to go to practice because of the hot sun?
Well you could do just nothing and wait.... But if you wait for the perfect conditions you'll never get anything done!
So here are some ideas and alternatives on how to deal with imperfect conditions.
Think First, Act Later
Both inclement or hot weather means you have more time to dive into the theory!
It's the perfect time to really take on board 'the bigger picture', and to appy the 'Think First, Act Later' principle! As François Robichon de La Guérinière (1688-1751) would have said: “In order to attain excellence in this art, it is necessary to be prepared for the difficulties encountered in the practice by a clear and firm theory.”
So a hot summer or cold winter is the perfect time to study, because that will set you up for success in practise. Thought must precede action
in Straightness Training, because theory teaches you to base the work with horses on sound principles. Practice gives you the ability to easily apply what you have learned in theory. The theory sets you up for more chance of success in practice.
Therefore unfavourable weather would be perfect 'excuse':
So relax, have a break, see it as a little holiday, and do some studying! You have all the time in the world!
Repetition is the mother of all skill
Now if you already in one of our programs: you need also time to digest what you already learned
and what you have been practising in Straightness Training. So a hot summer or cold winter means that it's also the perfect time to widen, to broaden, to deepen your wisdom.
Remember: repetition is the mother of all learning. And this is not about the horse! This is about us and our learning!
By going back and reviewing what we have looked at or watched or read, we will pick up the things we missed the first time...it is that reviewing and "repeating"
what we thought we had covered the first time that enables us to further digest, widen, broaden, deepen our understanding of what we are doing with the information we have at hand, both mentally and physically. So you will not only repeat what you already know!
Thanks to more skills and experience you gain along the way, you will see new details and you will widen, broaden and deepen your knowledge, skills, feel and wisdom. So relax, have a break, and do some "repeating"!
Don't worry about your horse!
Now don't worry that the development of your horse will decline. Your horse will not forget
what you have done with him! Especially if he had a good time with you during the training sessions. PLUS... he probably will come at it even better when you start back up!
This is why: Also the horse's mind needs to digest what he learned!
We often think we lost 4 weeks of training, but often we gain 2 months by giving the horse a break! After the break you'll often develop much faster, because of the horse's mental growth during the break.
Now remember, it will never be perfect anyway
, there will always be challenges, obstacles and less than perfect conditions.
So in case you REALLY want to practice, no matter what, just be creative
and find a way:
- You can do the standstill exercises in a dry stall; You can still practice the forward-down and stelling & bending as well as playing with bringing the weight off the forehand at the standstill.
- The corridor in between the stalls might offer a good spot to practise a bit circles in walk.
- You could use the roads to practise LFS on a straight line, shoulder-in and haunches-in in walk, both in hand as ridden. You could even do half pass from left to right and back if the road is very quiet.
- Or just hang out with your horse in the stall or the paddock and do nothing. Just be together, so act like a human ‘being’, not as a human ‘doing’ ;) Horses love to do nothing and doing nothing together will strengthen the bond between the two of you, which will increase the chances for success when you start training again.
And if you really want to do something, you'll find a way, if not you'll find an excuse... to study! So either way, you and your horse will benefit!
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