Some Advice for Ch-Ch-Changes…

We are finally moving towards (dare I say it) Spring now, the days are getting longer (hooray!) and the weather is slightly milder, daffodils are popping up everywhere and blossom is now starting to peep out from the trees.

As delightful as this is, you may have also noticed ‘spring-like’ changes in your horses too! I know Snoox and his girlfriend have been suddenly more spritely, and I’ve had many reports from friends and clients of their horses acting and feeling the same!

While its great to know that your horses are ‘feeling well’, changes in their behavior, admittedly, can be a bit frustrating. You may be seeing more adverse behaviors such as heightened awareness and spookiness, low attention spans, and general ‘freshness’ from your horse. If you are reading this and can relate, please know, you are not alone! Seasonal changes are a real thing when it comes to horse ownership, and as your horse is a living thing, and connected to nature as much as we are, shifts in daylight patterns and changes in weather affect us all.

So how can we work with our horses through these seasonal transitions…and remain sane, loving partners to our horses??

Here are some tips that I hope help!!

  1. Know and Understand, that this ‘is a thing’ and it will pass.

It can be so frustrating when you’ve been making progress with your horse, or you have things you want to achieve, and suddenly their behavior has changed, and you’re not quite getting what you want and need from your furry pal. Here its important to understand, this will pass, look at the positives in the situation (i.e. this means the weather is getting better, its great that your horse is feeling well etc) and try not to get bogged down in annoyance and frustration.

2. On Days Where You Bring In a Fire Breathing Dragon From the Paddock..

You have two options. Decide that today is not the day, pick their feet out, check they’re alive and well, and chuck them back out again to try again tomorrow…or…commit to your session, take a breath, and minimise what you work on. If you choose option 1, know that this is ok, there is no win or lose, sometimes, its just not worth the hassle! If you choose option 2, break down your session, really focus on just getting your horses focus in the session, and reward moments of relaxation and focus from your horse. Lots and lots of transitions are always helpful to get your horses focus in a session.

3. Consider some Herbal Help!

I change Snoox’s supplements depending on the seasons, to best suit his needs and make sure he stays nourished and healthy all year round. I LOVE using herbal support! This time of year if he was being consistently crackers (which for now its just every now and then so we’re ok), I might consider bringing some calming herbs into his diet such as chamomile, valerian, or passionflower.

The biggest thing to remember here, is that this will all pass, and to stay positive, not to take any behaviour personally, and to be kind to yourself, and your horse, as we transition through the seasons.

I hope this was helpful, please feel free to email me at info@idyllwildhorsemanship.com with any questions or comments!

Harnessing Metacognition: A Mindful Approach to Connecting with Your Horse

In the world of horse ownership, where the bond between rider and steed is as vital as any equipment or technique, there exists a powerful yet often overlooked tool: metacognition.


So, what exactly is metacognition? In simple terms, it’s the ability to think about your own thinking. It’s almost like having a second pair of eyes observing your mind’s inner workings.

In the realm of horsemanship, cultivating metacognitive skills can be a big game-changer. Imagine being able to step back from the immediate tasks at hand and analyse not just what you’re doing, but how you’re doing it. This heightened awareness opens doors to deeper connections with your horse and a more refined approach to training and communication.

At its core, metacognition empowers horse owners to understand their own mental processes. By honing this skill, riders can better regulate their emotions, manage stress, and make more informed decisions in, and out of the saddle. When faced with a challenging situation, such as a spooked horse or a tricky maneuver, metacognition allows riders to assess their own reactions and feelings and adjust accordingly, fostering a calmer, more confident presence that horses can respond to, positively.

But the benefits don’t end there! Metacognition also plays a crucial role in understanding your horse’s mind. By observing our own thought processes, we become more attuned to the subtle cues and body language of our horses. We learn to anticipate their actions, interpret their signals more accurately, and respond with greater empathy and understanding.

Imagine, for instance, encountering a hesitant horse during a hack/trail ride. Instead of reacting impulsively, a metacognitively aware rider might pause to assess their own feelings of frustration, nerves, or anxiety. By acknowledging and addressing these emotions, they can approach the situation with a clear mind and a compassionate demeanor, helping to reassure the horse and ease its apprehension.

Moreover, metacognition fosters a growth mindset—a belief in our capacity to learn and improve over time. Just as we can reflect on our own experiences and adjust our behavior accordingly, so too can we adapt our training methods to suit the individual needs of our horses. This flexible, open-minded approach lays the groundwork for continuous progress and mutual trust between horse and rider (which is ultimately what we are all looking for!)

In essence, metacognition is the bridge that connects the realms of thought and action, enabling us to navigate the intricate dance of horsemanship, with grace and insight.

By embracing this mindful approach, horse owners can unlock new levels of harmony, understanding, and fulfillment in their equine partnerships.

So, the next time you saddle up, and work with your horse, remember to harness the power of metacognition—it just might be the key to unlocking your horse’s full potential!

Need some help harnessing metacognition for yourself?

Pop me an email at info@idyllwildhorsemanship.com and I’ll be happy to discuss how I can help you!

Reframing ‘Have To’ to ‘Get To’

I write to you from my sick bed! I can’t remember the last time I had a cold, and honestly, I’d started to take pride in the fact that I haven’t had one in I don’t know how long! I’d even started to think that I must have some cool kind of immunity thing going on.

But nope. That is not the case! I have a cold, and its the mother of all blooming colds. I’ve been sneezing my head off, my eyes won’t stop watering to the point that one of them is swollen, and I just generally feel bloody miserable.I’m surrounded by tissues, I’ve been drinking immune herbal tea like its going out of fashion (and its not blooming working!!!) and Mavis keeps giving me funny looks every time it looks like I’m going to sneeze. (is anyone elses dog mortified when their humans sneeze or is it just mine..?!)

Safe to say, I’m not feeling the most joyful right now, and I am having to surrender to rest. After I’ve finished this I’ll be taking a nap!

My question for you to ponder today, is why we never really fully appreciate our health, and feeling ‘normal’ until we get sick?! I always talk about gratitude and appreciation, and how important it is in our lives in general and with our horses, and its just as important with our health too.

I think its so important to take the time to appreciate what we have, and that we GET to do things. We get ‘should’ and ‘have to’ so mixed up, and we forget that we in fact are very privileged in this life, and we’re very lucky to do the things with our horses that we sometimes shy away from. We GET to spend time with our horses. We GET to have the energy, health, and physical function to muck them out, we GET to have the time and the energy to poo pick their paddocks, we GET to have the capacity (most of the time!!) to pay their livery, feed, and vet bills.

This reframe can be so powerful in changing how we look at life, and therefore improving our overall well-being and the time we spend with our horses. I invite you to try that reframe for afew days to see what you think, sprinkling more gratitude and appreciation into our lives can do some very profound things for our mindset, and our relationships with our equine friends.

Above all we should never forget how lucky we are, or what an honor it is to live our lives alongside our horses.

If you you’d like to explore mindset reframes further with me, head over to my services page to see how I can help you!

www.idyllwildhorsemanship.com/services

Otherwise, I hope you found that helpful, have a great day!

Over and Out!