What does it mean to be a weak rider? Is it the inability to hold the correct posture and position in the saddle? Is it the lack of strength in the aids to apply them correctly and productively? What if weak riding were not a bad thing, but a highly sought after reality?
In weak riding, I am referring to the ability to use the mind & energy of the rider, over their strength. It is about connecting and communicating with the horse without reliance upon strength. That is weak riding. I brought up the topic of using only 5 grams of pressure in a previous post, and how it correlates with a person’s intention, and I want to build on that. To have an intention, the ability to feel and see the action you are hoping to create or inspire in a sort of psuedo-action type visualization. To feel the energy in your fingertips, but unable to see any movement stemming from them. The ability to sense a half-pass without seeing any chance in position, pressure or posture. That is intent, it is the ‘mind’s eye’ so to speak.
To be a weak rider gives the horse every opening at performing to his full potential. There are no interferences, no blocks, no force or energy working against, always working with. In particular I have been practicing this method also with my niece, when she doesn’t want to lay down for her nap or get ready for bed at night. I simply go through the motions without force – no force in my actions, in my words, in the tone of my voice. It is all calm, it is waiting, and still it has energy and movement. What I find is that in her resistance, she begins to attempt to help me. She resists, and when she is not resisted against, she then starts to help with whatever it is. Perhaps I am trying to get her changed for bed, she will help put her pajama top on. Or brushing her teeth, she will sit herself down so I can help her with her teeth better. Small things, but they break a cycle of resistance and temper tantrum. The same goes for the horse, he becomes engaged. We have caught his mind. The mind that we use when we are weak, we then attract the mind of the horse to.
The reality is that only when we have strength do we rely upon it. When we lack strength we must find other options, other answers to solve the problem. What if we all rode as though we were too weak to lift a bale of hay, to pick up our horse’s hoof, to hoist the saddle upon his back? Would we also temper our strength with our hands, legs and artificial aids? They would find an action that relies upon the energy and movement over the direct or indirect force.
I wanted to post this video, because somewhere near the middle it shows the very obvious use of force to try and control/contain the horse. It fails miserably. So I pose this question, if presented with a situation like this and you did not have the option to use force, what would you change? How would you work to stay safe while handling this horse that doesn’t rely on strength to be successful?