Why Being More Present Can Help Your Dressage

We are surrounded with distractions, whether it’s distractions at work, at home or on the horse. The more modern our world gets the more distracted we become. It’s not uncommon these days to find living rooms with a TV going, your phone by your side while you scroll through Pinterest on your tablet for inspiration. I have certainly caught myself doing this many times and been shocked at how much the world is changing.

Unfortunately, this then moves into your distraction on your horse. When riding we are thinking about work, the kids or just something in the distance that the neighbour is doing and is that going to freak our horse out!

The truth is we are getting more and more distracted and the art of focusing on one thing is getting harder and harder to do, not just in our riding but our work life, relationships and so much more.

However, for today I want to talk about the impact this has on our riding.

Often when we ride we are told to relax, so then we concentrate super hard on relaxing creating a more tense and unstable position. Or we are told to focus on our core position but we are trying so hard to steer at the same time, while again worrying about what that neighbour is doing behind his shed!

One of the most powerful things you can do when you ride is to become fully present and this is what I love so much about riding. Is it helps me zone out the rest of the world and simply focus on that present moment. Similar I believe to a surfer catching that wave. We are focusing on our position, the movement of the horse and how it is feeling right then.

When we ride each and every stride and we stay present in the saddle, we can become aware of the movement a trot or canter creates. Our body can then communicate to this incredibly powerful animal with ease and clarity. This is what I love about dressage because the better you become at riding the more mindful a rider you are becoming without having to put a label on it.

You see when you ride each stride when you focus on your breath, your position at that moment you are being present and being present allows you to communicate clearly to your horse. However, that moment you bring your work to your horses back, the stress from your day or the worry from what your neighbour is doing you become distracted. This conversation then between you and your horse is no longer focused. It’s like talking to someone face to face but their eyes are looking over your shoulder while they nod their head pretending to listen. Your horse feels just the same, they will continue on because they are such amazing animals but that clarity has been lost.

Schooling helps you become more mindful and not only does this help your dressage but being more mindful will also help your work, relationships and so much more. It’s just about being present and less distracted!

So ensure when you ride that you turn up and be present. I’m sure you will find your riding more enjoyable by doing so.

To get yourself started and to help improve your riding performance, be sure to download our free guide. Learn the foundations of building your rider fitness and get started on that journey today. Learn more here.