6 Life Lessons From A Horse

My family recently returned from a vacation. Most of the time on vacations we spend our time by the pool or ocean with our kids. This time they got a little treat. They got a horse back riding lesson. Now for most of us that may seem like no big thing but let me tell you for a 4 and 6 year old who love animals this was pee your pants exciting.
As a parent I was happy to see them happy but didn’t think the experience would effect me like it did; I thought it was about them. As we arrived and found our contact I really did my best to relinquish any type of control and let the experts handle my kids around the animals. As I watched the trainers work my wheels were turning in my head. These 6 rules can apply for anything in life but since it is my job to talk about health and fitness related things lets look at it from that angle.
Lesson 1: have respect for the rules. They will serve you or you will get hurt. When I say rules I do not necessarily mean gym rules, I am speaking to more of movement and body rules. Huh? Not everyone is created equal. In our gym you must be able to move well before you move with any weight or be challenged. We never add complexity to a poor pattern as it will just set people up for injury.
Lesson 2: look where you want to go. This may be my favorite of all. My girls are tiny for their age. Put them next to a horse and they are like a fart in the wind. When their teacher gave them the ropes to get the horse from the pasture and bring it back to the barn to saddle up, it was amazing to see how something so small could command something so big. They both were smiling from ear to ear, almost glowing, and when they saw us they yelled out look at our horses as they turned and looked at them. The teacher was quick to correct them and said look where you want the horse to go not at them. We get so caught up in our surroundings or the media that we lose focus on where we want to go. We let a fad effect us. We let a number on a scale effect us. If we stay focused on the end game, where we want to go, we will eventually get there.
Lesson 3: stay tall. Posture matters. There is no way you can sit on a horse with a slumped posture. The horse feels everything and if you have poor posture and confidence you will not command anything. Over the past 2 years I have been introduced to system called the Postural Restoration Institute (PRI). This system has drastically effected the way I program and coach. The way we stand, sit and most importantly breathe matters. If you have bad posture and bad breathing habits it will drastically effect the way you function.
Lesson 4: if the horse is not doing what you want, learn from it and do something different. After my girls were done I was watching a older girl in the big ring riding her horse. The trainer was standing in the middle of the ring giving her feedback as she rode. The trainer noticed the horse kicking and yelled out to this girl to do something different if she wanted it to stop kicking. If you want a different result then what you currently have, do something different. Weight loss? Do something different. Lift more weight? Do something different. In pain? Do something different.
Lesson 5: stay focused. This one is similar to number 2. When the girls were on the horse riding they started to look around and the trainer again was quick to remind them to stay focused on the experience. It is easy to get distracted by outside things both positive and negative. Being able to stay focused on the experience allows you to fully take in what is intended.
Lesson 6: if you give love you will get love. This one was very easy for my girls since they love animals and especially love horses. It was love at first sight for them and they were hugging them right away introducing them to us as theirs. You could read the horses reaction and they were loving being loved. They almost leaned into our girls with their own love back. When they were riding them, they were gentle and responsive as well. If you love your body with good food, exercise and recovery it will love you back.

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