Offered by Kim Gieseke, Promenade Horsemanship Academy
I get excited when a parent shares a story about their child improving a life skill due to horsemanship classes. Improved focus is usually at the top of the list. With school about to start, focus is one of those skills that will soon be put to use by all children. Any sport can help improve focus, what is unique about horsemanship is the horse makes it obvious to the student that they must pay attention to what they are doing or the horse will not perform the task. With most students the desire to ride and have fun wins over the huge effort it takes to learn how to ride, focus being the main tool to achieve this.
To get this large animal to listen to us, as well as to stay safe, we must be “in the moment” or focus on the task at hand. I always tease students, being in the moment means you must not be thinking about what’s for dinner or texting your friend. Those thoughts must be put aside, and they must concentrate on what is trying to be accomplished with the horse. I can tell when the student is not focusing on the task because the horse will wander off in another direction, or stop to eat a blade of grass that is poking through the fence. Of course, the student must learn proper use of their body to move the horse, but the better the focus, the quicker the student learns to guide the horse. As a student becomes absorbed in influencing how and where the horse moves, learning to “be in the moment” or focusing becomes a part of being a good horseman or woman.
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