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                                                      Essential Qualities of Horsemanship Feel •Timing • Balance


5 Personal Rider Responsibilities


Here are 5 Personal Rider Responsibilities that each horse owner or horse rider should concentrate on to become the ‘best you can be’ for your horse.


5 Personal Rider Responsibilities:

  1. Health

The first responsibility of the rider is to be Healthy. Do the best you can do to stay in shape and be fit enough for your horse. You can’t start something and quit if you become exhausted in the middle of an important exercise or workout. Becoming healthier is essential in becoming a better horseman and to improve other parts of our lives. When our health isn’t good we aren’t as strong physically and then emotions like fear quibble with us. It doesn’t help to feel weak and fearful around horses. And… undeniably we all know what we need to do to get ourselves healthier.


  1. Flexibility 

The second responsibility is to be flexible, not only physically, but also in your mental and emotional capacity. Being more flexible physically is easier when your mindset is flexible. Be able to ‘adjust to fit the situation’. If you can adjust to fit the situation in your physical capacity or lack of it, you can find a way to be more mentally and emotionally flexible for your horse.


  1. Centered 

In order to do any job well, especially a physically challenging job, we need to feel ‘Centered’,

not out of balance. You can’t be thinking about what’s happening on your iPhone, or at the office if you are going to be there for your horse. Get centered emotionally before you ask your horse to be centered and ‘with you’. A bonus of working with horses is that they teach us how to become more centered in our ways because horses are beings of ‘in the moment’. If we aren’t centered they let us know by their behavior. We become more centered when we work with the horse in the moment, being in the moment is centering.


  1. Endurance

Endurance is a hard one. Many people and riders don’t get out much. Once a week is all they can do. But endurance is not just about building up enough energy to withstand a workout, it’s another one of those mental things. I would like to see my students and clients be able to endure longer periods of concentration and connection while working or riding their horses. Mental endurance will help build some physical endurance. We do need a deal of physical endurance to be able to outlast the horse in a working or training session and to develop the follow through that it takes to make all that work a lasting memory. Follow through takes time and consistency. We have to have endurance for that. Endurance goes back to Health. Work on your health, do the things it takes so you can have the endurance to accomplish more things with your horse. You can build physical endurance slowly, build is the key word, over time you and your horse won’t have to work so hard to be on the same page!


  1. Focus

Bottom line, horses follow your Focus. Focus gives them something to ‘Feel Of’. Focus shows Intent. Don’t just go somewhere, go THERE. Don’t just look anywhere…look where you want to BE. Learn how to Focus and drive your intentions home. 


Time: What I didn’t list as one more rider responsibility is Time. Health, Flexibility, being Centered, Endurance and Focus all revolve around Time. 

The 5 Personal Rider Responsibilities can always be improved on with ongoing development, with each individual every day as they become your good horsemanship habits over time.

© Karen Hagen 2014