Trainer's Paddock- Music! Finding the tempo helps you and your horses...

Most Dressage riders will tell you that music aids them in finding the rhythm or tempo of the horse’s gait. This is very true - the movement of the horse is very similar to the tempo and beat we find in music, but it also aids in the relaxation of both horse and rider. Think about it - when a song comes on the radio ( I’m dating myself I’m sure) that you like don’t you find yourself singing along, tapping your foot and, for a few minutes, you’re just in the moment not thinking about your troubles but just enjoying that song? The same can be true if you’re riding your horse and thinking about what the horse is doing. Whether it’s will he make a smooth transition from trot to canter or will he spook - if you are playing music and a song you really like starts playing you relax. When your tense mind relaxes your body relaxes and so does your horse. You might think I’m a little crazy, but believe me it’s true. If you’ve ever gone to a rodeo you know that while the competitors warm up in the arena they play music over the PA system. If you watch the horses and riders you will see them begin to keep time to the music as they ride and as they do that they loosen up and relax. If you ever watch a Dressage rider working to music you will see the same effect. The rider begins to loosen up and find the horse’s tempo, so the horse relaxes and their movement is freer. Many times during my Women & Horses Mind, Spirit and Body clinics when dealing with fearful riders I put music on and all of sudden the fear melts away. It’s great therapy for both horse and rider. It can improve your riding skills as well. Another example is when they play music at a horse show. I have stood in the center of the arena as a Judge and watched as both horse and rider get into the music playing. The nerves seem to subside and horsemanship improves as they keep time to the music. I encourage all my clients to play music when they can especially when they are experiencing some troubles. It works well, too , when training a young horse. Here again, you relax which relaxes the horse. You convey your feelings, good or bad , to your horse. So if a song brings back a good memory of your childhood or when you were a teenager and you feel good because the song is playing then you convey the feeling to your horse and he feels good too. Keep in mind your horse may have his or her ow music preferences. Really they do. I like to play Roy Rogers singing Happy Trails, but my horses don’t seem to like that music. My Arabian mare Jodi prefers the Beatles or the Carpenters or 60’s pop. The Paso Fino likes Herb Albert and theTijuana Brass or Pablo Montero. He loves Marachi music. My half Arabian Sonny likes Charro’s Spanish Guitar Music - in fact any Spanish Music. The Rocky Mountain mare likes John Denver and Neil Diamond. I guess I’ll have to get a Quarter Horse maybe he’ll like Cowboy music. Seriously music can really help you and horse relax which can make you better rider.

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