Learn how to feel what your horse is trying to tell you.
What makes one rider able to learn more quickly than another? I believe the answer relates to the ability of the rider to be trained by her horse. When I say that people laugh, and I laugh with them, but I believe in it, too. I think this is what some people mean when they say a rider has “feel.” Feel is understood as the rider’s ability to experience through her body what the horse is doing with his body. Many trainers don’t believe feel can be taught. When a rider with feel gives an aid she takes feedback from the horse as to whether that aid was helpful or not. One would think every rider would do this intuitively, but it actually doesn’t happen as much as one would think. One reason is that the responses of the horse can be extremely subtle and even advanced riders aren’t always attentive to them. Another reason is that most riders are consumed by insecurities about their riding abilities, and this causes them to focus on themselves instead of the horse. I have found that when a rider learns how to attend to the subtle reactions of the horse instead of to negative thoughts related to her riding abilities, she is able to progress rapidly. In this way, feel can be taught.