News from Jane Savoie
That Winning Feeling!
September 2007 http://www.janesavoie.com
in this issue
Training Tips For The Spooky Horse
Gimme The Goods
Train With Jane
Emotional Freedom Technique
I can hardly believe summer is almost over! It’s been a crazy, hectic season for me. How about you? Let me know what you’ve been up to.
One of the “hottest” events of the summer was my fourth USDF Adult clinic. This one was held August 3-4 at the elegant Chateau Elan in Georgia. Yes, the temperature was hot–97 degrees and humid! But, interesting horses, talented riders, awesome organizers and 150+ auditors all contributed to a fabulous weekend. Now, THAT’S hot!!
At the end of the month, Ruth Hogan-Poulsen and I joined forces with Central Vermont Dressage Association to launch an exciting program called Riding in 3 Part Harmony. The theme centered around improving the harmony between you and your horse through riding to music and various sports psychology techniques.
Ruth, a national freestyle champion, showed everyone how to pick music, not only for competition, but for improving rhythm, relaxation, focus, and FUN at home. For more info, go to Ruth’s site which is http://www.ruthhoganpoulsen.com.
I brought my sports psychology toolbox and showed riders and auditors alike how easy it is to incorporate relaxation techniques, visualization, and positive self-talk into their rides.
There are so many cool programs like this around the country. Seek out these sources of inspiration and education. It’s an inexpensive way to recharge your batteries.
Live Your Dreams!
TRAINING TIPS FOR THE SPOOKY HORSE
I know that riding the spooky horse can be challenging and frustrating so the following are some tips to help you understand why your horse spooks and to give you some tools to help cope with shying.
1. It might help you to understand your spooky horse’s behavior by understanding that a horse’s natural flight response allowed him to survive in the wild. So, when you think your horse is being unreasonable because he’s shying from something that seems benign, change your attitude toward his behavior. Say something like. ‘”You have incredible survival instincts.” or “You don’t need to be on the lookout for potential danger. I’ll keep you safe.”
2. Do you get frustrated when your horse spooks from the same flower pot he saw two minutes ago? Maybe the answer lies with the “theory of the dominant eye”.
You see, most of us (including horses) have a dominant eye. To find out which is your dominant eye, keep both eyes open and point at an object. Then alternately close each eye. You’ll find that when you close one eye, your finger doesn’t move, but when you close the other eye, your finger jumps to the side. For example, if you close your right eye and your finger doesn’t move, then your dominant eye is your left eye.
The dominant eye explains why horses tend to shy more when perceived danger is on a particular side. Let’s say you’re circling to the right and your horse is left eye dominant. He seems pretty secure about his environment because his dominant eye is on the outside. He can see his surroundings and keep himself alert and safe from “danger”. However, if he’s right eye dominant, he’ll want to whip his head around to the left so he can check out the environment with his right eye. The result is that he spooks more for objects that are to the left of his body.
3. Here are some “Don’t’s” for riding the spooky horse.
–Never punish a spooky horse. They shy from fear. If you punish them, you convince them they were right to be afraid.
—On the other hand, don’t try to soothe him by patting him for “being brave” while he’s shying. You’re just rewarding the shying behavior.
–Don’t make a frightened horse walk straight up to the scary object. That’s the most frightening thing you can do. That’s like asking the horse to face a cougar straight on when every instinct tells him to flee from danger.
4. Now, here are some “Do’s”.
–If the scary object is at one end of the ring, circle in the middle of the ring. Then, as your horse relaxes, gradually shift your circle toward the scary end of the ring. He doesn’t have to eat the whole bale at once. Let him eat the bale a flake at a time. This “slow” way usually ends up being the faster way…and you accomplish your goal with a minimum of resistance and trauma to your horse (and you!).
–Well before you approach the scary object, use your inside rein rein to bend your horse’s neck enough to the inside so he can’t see the scary object with either eye. Remember, horses have both binocular vision (like us) and monocular vision where they can see with each eye separately. So, you need to need the neck enough so he can’t see with either eye. He won’t shy from what he can’t see.
–Once you are directly beside the scary object, relax both reins. Many horses are claustrophobic, and you don’t want your horse to think he’s being “pinned” against something with no escape. That’s very scary.
–Don’t stare at the scary object. If you focus on it, your horse will too. Look at your surrounding instead.
–Breathe! If you’re holding your breathe, you’ll convince your horse there’s good reason to be afraid. Inhale deeply, and as you exhale, feel your butt lowering down into the barrel of the horse like a centaur.
GIMME THE “GOODS”
The following tip on staying positive comes from Lyn Christie who teaches out of Wheaton Park Stables in Maryland. I think this is a brilliant idea and an awesome motivational tool. Great job, Lyn!
Good morning! I teach quite a few group lessons to both children and adults. A couple of years ago, I instituted a program that I call the “goods”. I am a very positive instructor but found that what your students remember most is the corrections that you made, not the things that you complimented them for!
So, I make them concentrate on what they did well. Each morning I email everyone from the group lessons I taught the night before asking for their “goods”. They send an email back to either me or to all outlining what went well, what they learned, what they improved on the night before.
This system not only makes them focus on their improvements, it has engendered a life of its own. They write to each other, giving tips, sharing what they’ve learned about the horses, cheering each other on.
TRAIN WITH JANE
I have some exciting news for you! I’m about to launch my video training program. I have decided to offer this program because of the sheer numbers of emails I get asking about everything from how to adjust the bit and noseband correctly to how to help a horse that has difficulty picking up one of the canter leads. Since it’s impossible for me to answer those questions without seeing your horse, the video sessions will allow me to see what’s ACTUALLY go on and to give you clear tools techniques, and feedback to help you.
Keep your eye on the Courses section of my website which is http://janesavoie.com/courses.htm for the official “launch”. I’m planning to offer the sessions sometime this month.
EMOTIONAL FREEDOM TECHNIQUE
I got this great letter from Ange Finn who I met at Lynn Palm’s Women Luv Horses event this May in North Carolina. Hey, Ange! You go, Girl! I’m proud of you!!
I just wanted to report another amazing experience with EFT. After seeing a bit of your demo at Women LUV Horses, I downloaded the manual to use as I’m getting ready for my Regional championship go (tonight.) Two days ago I couldn’t even visualize going in the gate without sweaty palms. It was hard to do my positive visualizations because I couldn’t seem to interrupt the nervousness cycle.
So I put EFT to work, and it has been a wonder. It immediately dialed down the nerves to a very low level, has allowed me to have good schooling sessions, and I’ll use it during the day to get ready for tonight’s class.
Thanks again for another super tool!
To learn more about the Emotional Freedom Technique, go to: http://www.janesavoie.com/shop/
STRETCHING, we have been told, is v-e-r-y important. It is, but be sure you know how to stretch. Ballistic stretching is out! (You know, you put a body part in an extreme, extended position and pull hard and bounce and bounce trying to get closer to the goal position? Bad idea.)
There are two other types of stretching to be performed. Static stretching is best performed at the end of an exercise session – or after a ride. Rhythmic stretching is best done before training or riding.
For now, be gentle with your stretching. “Trying hard to stretch” is a contradiction in terms. Move slowly, gently; breathe into the muscles you choose to lengthen. By bouncing or pulling too hard you run the risk of firing the stretch reflex which does just what you don’t want it to do – your muscles reflexively tighten to protect themselves.
WARM UP WITH RHYTHMIC (or dynamic) STRETCHING. By all means move your body through a deliberate range of motion prior to exercise or a ride. Walk, swing your arms, do some knee lifts and some butt kicks. Shrug your shoulders, loosely (and gently) circle your arms, bend your neck from side to side, sit down, stand up, swing your leg front and back. Turn from side to side, bend from side to side, step from side to side. All deliberate and moderate movements gradually enlarging as you go. On your back, gently roll your knees from side to side. On all 4s, arch your back like a cat and straighten it out again. Finally, take a few good deep breaths. If your core body temperature is slightly elevated and your muscles feel warm, you’re good to go. If not, do a few more. Add some easy skipping. Walk/jog up a flight of steps or a modest hill. By now, after about 10 minutes total, you are definitely ready.
COOL DOWN at the end of your workout or ride by deliberately reducing the intensity of your actions and “downsizing” everything that you are doing. When your heart rate has returned to normal, it is time to do some static stretching. Simply put, perform any stretch with which you are familiar – a position that attempts to elongate a muscle or muscle group – and HOLD that position for 20-30 seconds being certain to breathe into the position. (think Yoga) There should be no pain – only a gentle release of the muscle tension. Be sure to stretch the major muscle groups of your body including all opposing muscles.
Your Personal Trainer, Linda Freeman
IN THE ‘TEST KITCHEN’ OF LIFE
A young woman was complaining to her father about how difficult her life had become. The father said nothing, but took her to the kitchen and set three pans of water to boiling. To the first pan, he added carrots; to the second, eggs; and to the third, ground coffee. After all three had cooked, he put their contents into separate bowls and asked his daughter to cut into the eggs and carrots and smell the coffee “What does this all mean?” she asked impatiently.
“Each food,” he said, “teaches us something about facing adversity, as represented by the boiling water.” The carrot went in hard but came out soft and weak. The eggs went in frag¬ile but came out hardened. The coffee, however, changed the water to something better.
“Which will you be like as you face life?” he asked. Will you give up, become hard or transform adversity into triumph? As the “chef” of your own life, what will you bring to the table?
Adapted from the AccessChristian Web site by James Malinchak. James is one of “America’s Most Requested Motivational Speakers!” He is the author of 10 top-selling success and motivational books and a contributing author to the #1 Best-selling book series, Chicken Soup for the Soul®. To contact James for a speaking engagement: visit: http://www.Malinchak.com.
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