Would you want to take the biggest oxer you have ever done at a sharp angle? Would you want to jump your green pony over their first jump with them snorting at the flowers the whole approach? No! We want to do have successful rides not ones filled with bruises. Taking the time to set you and your horse up for success is very very important.
Setting yourself up for success is something that needs to become a habit. If you are setting up a grid, walk and measure all of your distances. If you are trying a new movement have a plan on how you are going to ride it.
Yes, things don’t always go according to plan but you can still have one. Winging it only gets you so far. Get it right the first couple of times and then purposefully mess up. You need experience as much as you need instinct.
Let’s say our horse has been having problems jumping. You are setting up a single, small jump with placement poles to help him regain his confidence. Do you just throw down the placement poles and say that’s good enough or do you make sure they are right? Obviously you should make sure everything is perfect before you do the exercise.
If you make things too hard for your horse the first time around, you may make things worse. Horses, like humans, take the easiest option when faced with a choice.
Make things super easy the first time around. Get your confidence up so that you feel like you can do anything. Our biggest obstacle is not our body, not our horse, but our mind. I know it sounds corny but if you believe you can do it, you normally will.
Now, you shouldn’t take this to the extreme and do something stupid because you think you can. Also, we can be held back by reality. Sometimes our horse doesn’t have the scope or strength. You may not have the strength or ability yet. Think things through and don’t bite off more than you can chew.