AXIOMS TO GUIDE YOU IN YOUR JOURNEY TOWARD ACHIEVING HARMONY WITH THE HORSE

These axioms are not ‘the be all to end all’ but they are of sufficient importance and number to help you. They are not multiple choice. They all have a place to fit in and be recalled depending on the circumstances presented at the moment.

1. Don’t waste your time by spreading thirty days worth of training over ten years – get on with it!

2.Learning what you don’t want is far better and will give you more inner peace than obsessing about you want

3.Happiness is being comfortable with what you have rather than what you want

4,You get what you settle for

5.If you continue to do what you’ve always done, then you’ll always get what you’ve always gotten

6.Always reach beyond your grasp

7.Do or don’t do – there is no ‘try’

8.‘Good enough’ begets mediocrity

9.Always prepare to position for the transition, don’t wait until you’re in the middle of the intersection to do something

10.Analyze what happened before what you wanted to have happen happened, then take steps to fix it

11.Know when you are well off

12.It’s the little things that make a big difference to the horse

13.For an education – listen to the horse; for an experience – ignore what the horse is trying to tell you

14. Thought with purpose gives the horse direction

15. The horse is a reflection of the rider’s ability

16. A rider’s posture (mind, body and spirit) will affect the horse’s posture

17. Confidence is knowing you are prepared for the unpredictable

18. Adjust to fit the situation

19. The horse you mount will not be the same horse from which you dismount – he will be better or worse, there is no neutral ground

20.  You never ride the same horse twice, because every interaction leaves traces and changes the horse.

21. If you only ride one horse, you will never learn how to ride horses

22. The horse makes no mistakes; there are only rider inaccuracies

23. Horses don’t make ‘mistakes’; they just present you with a ‘teaching moment’

24.The ‘how’ is always more important than the ‘what’

25. Resist the temptation of trying to appear more accomplished than you are

26. If you think you can, or you can’t – you are right!

27. Failure is just an early attempt at success – just do your best each day

28. Not trying is a grievous mistake; giving up is a fatal mistake. You don’t lose when you fail; you lose when you give up

29. You will always get what you asked for – it may not be what you wanted, but it is what you asked for

30. Always remain a student of the horse

31. The reins are telephone lines connecting the bit to the rider’s hands. Their purpose is to permit a conversation to take place between the horse’s mouth and the rider’s fingers

32. It is the rider’s hands that are of the greatest concern to the horse, not the type of bit in its mouth (provided it fits the mouth and is adjusted correctly)

33. A horse and rider without a solid foundation are handicapped for life

34. Knowledge is the foundation of the theory; practice is the confirmation or modification of the theory – practice without knowledge is fruitless

35. The pursuit of perfection in horsemanship is like looking through the lens of a kaleidoscope – it is always changing

36. A horse that is not ‘in front of the whip’, i.e., responding with alacrity, cannot be ‘in front of the leg’. A horse that is not ‘in front of the leg’ cannot be ‘on the seat’ (meaning the appropriate and continual use of the rider’s lower back and abdominals). A horse that is not ‘on the seat’ cannot be ‘on the bit’. So a horse that is not ‘in front of the whip’ is not really ‘on the bit’

37. An effective aid can only be applied with relaxed muscles of the rider

38. It is not enough to be a rider (meaning someone who can influence the movements of the horse through the use of subtle aids). One must also be a thinking rider (meaning someone who can recognize and solve ‘problems’ which the horse presents while ‘under way’ [under saddle])

39. Lanes are only good for bowling balls – take a wider view and examine and study other riding disciplines because there may be something which you can use in your own riding discipline

40. A true horseman never stops learning. A true horseman will always remain a student in order to be a better horseman

41. Be very careful about choosing an instructor and do a lot of research. Avoid ‘parrot’ instructors (someone who just unthinkingly recites what they have been told without further examination or questioning to determine the correctness of what they have been told) and ‘pabulum’ instructors (someone who give you just a limited amount of ‘mushy’ information spread out over a prolonged period of time)

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