Rembrances of "seven day" contracts

When I was giving horsemanship lessons, and people were stuck, one of my favorite things to do was the "seven day" contract. You can commit to do anything once a day for seven days.

My favorite remembrance of using this tool was with one of my wonderful "not quite spring chicken back to horses later in life" clients whom I adore. Older women are often so unaware of how magnificent and capable they are.

Working with horses is learning how to be your true self. Learn a few things. Apply, adjust, enjoy, execute and leave notions of being "wrong" or the horse doing "wrong" in the dust, where they belong.

I had a client who hadn't ridden for over 2 years as a result of a riding accident. And of course, that didn't suit. She wanted back on and to get rid of her fear. So how to do it? Yes, you guessed it, in addition to some lessons, the wonderful seven day contract. Or, "how to bore yourself into riding your horse."

In this case, I had an understanding of when her fear stopped her in the process of riding. Her homework was to tack up her horse 7 days in a row and throw one leg over from the mounting block without putting her weight in the saddle and then remove her leg, remove the tack and turn the horse back out. Can you imagine her "boredom" after 7 days? The muttering under her breath..." I will be XX$$%##-danged if I am going to go to all of the dang trouble of catching, brushing, tacking up and throwing one leg over the dang back of this horse without actually getting on!" And so she mounts, by herself,......and then the fear comes back up and she dismounts.

Well, then, you can image the next 7 day contract I suggest. She has to mount, then immediately dismount and clean up. Well, you should have seen her eyebrows with that news....they just about climbed to her hairline in amazement.  I could see the wheels turning......"You want me to do all that work (it helps to do this exercise with an absolutely ginormous western saddle) just to get off?"..... Well, by the end of that 7 day period, she was riding a bit "unbeknownst" to me and of course, things progressed from there without any more "contracts" needed.

Horsemanship is such a complex mixture of common sense, being your true self, learning a bit, observing, and making a few adjustment. I love it when I can bore a client out of their fear. So much of the endpoint in horsemanship is just relaxation in the presence of communication with some absolutely necessary rules that help the two species to be mutually respectful of what the other species needs. How fun.

Enjoy your horse today, but even more importantly for your horse, enjoy yourself today.