Are You Effective In The Saddle? - ForTheHorse

Are You Effective In The Saddle?

Every week, we speak to so many people who are incredibly wanting to ride the best that they can do. And these are riders who genuinely care; they tend to be sometimes a little bit invested in doing things correctly with their horses, but they're still not getting the results that they're looking for.

So what's happening here?  Why aren't riders getting what they so much desire from their time with their horse?

Is it that your horse isn't listening to you perhaps?

Is it that your horse isn't ready to do what you're asking?

Is it that maybe you're asking too much?

What exactly is it?  And this is what we're going to talk about.

How to diagnose the right issue is a huge part of getting this right. 

We've learned this from not only doing it ourselves with our horses, but also helping many of our students and incredible riders along this journey as well.

And we've put these components that we've learned over many years and horses and students into our Harmony For the Horse Program.  It's a system for riders where they can learn for themselves, once and for all, how to be an effective rider.  

CLICK HERE to discover more about how we can help you to become a more effective rider so that you can have the freedom, achievement, oneness and joy that you most seek with your horse.

Yesterday, I wanted to bring my horses ZJ up to the indoor here.

But the conditions are incredibly dangerous for the journey from their pasture to the indoor. We've had warming trend that has melted snow, and then at night, it freezes. So, there's a sheet of ice.  I had to actually lead her step by step. But I knew where the ice was because I've been walking those paths frequently.

So, I had to guide her.  I had to lead her step by step pretty much along the way precisely where I crossed the path that was icy. And then I went over to the other one. And then I went down into the forest where we're not plowing, and so it was good going down there, but deep snow, and then leading her up the hill, and again into the driveway and up to the indoor.

She had to have an extreme connection with me to be able to do that.

Going back down from the indoor was more of a challenge. Because there's a hill so we had to walk down the hill, it was good footing on the hill. But it was just the fact that we had to walk down the hill, which presented more challenging situations from my horses’ point of view. But still, I had to be the one who was guiding her or leading her.

And this leads me to my next point, which is that....

Being an effective rider is like a doorway.

It's like opening a door, you're opening the door into where you have everything that you need in there.  You have...

  • Support
  • Guidance
  • Strategies
  • Techniques
  • Partnership

You're opening the door for you and your horse to go through the doorway into that place of clarity where you have everything you need.

Let's talk about guidance a bit, and how to be an effective guide. And some people like to call this leadership or be the leader.

Guide Yourself First

Be an effective guide of yourself, and then an effective guide of your horse.

Most riders have no idea on how to guide themselves, with respect and understanding and love.  

This is a process that we guide (lol) you through in our Harmony For the Horse Program.

And so, as you guide yourself and your horse, the thing that you need to do is practice discernment.


Discernment for me, is having the insight or understanding to be able to choose. Is it my riding technique? Is it my horse isn't ready? Is it that my horse isn't listening?

Observe, evaluate, use the process of discernment...and then you can choose how to make your next move, and the next moves, happen.

Have you ever heard the saying, "being at the controls", as a pilot is at the controls?

This is what I sometimes think about ... that I'm at the controls. It's not that I'm controlling. I'm just at the controls. I'm guiding my horse, with the a pilot would be or as a director in a play would be.

You're providing inspiration and you're providing lead.

Another part of the door that you open is the door into partnership... and this is something that happens all the way along the journey. It's the preparation for those times so that it's there when needed.

Like my example of my horse on the ice...I really needed her to connect with me and listen to me and follow my guide. I really needed her to do that, at that point in time, for her safety and for my safety.


A lot of riders we talk to get caught up in the perfectionism of things. And perfectionism is difficult because yes, we do want to learn how to do it. We want to know, we want to get the best that we can be and do it right for our horses...

But sometimes, if you get caught up in the perfectionism that does not allow you to have discernment, just like if you get caught up in emotions, that does not allow you to then access discernment. It's a balancing act, isn't it?

It's a balancing act. If you're too much into the side of perfection, when you're to the point where you're not enjoying it, then that doesn't make sense either.

The CORE Of The Partnership...


We had trust, I trusted her completely, she trusted me that I would be there for her.

But then there comes to be the part about emotions. And this is what I want to talk about now is the emotions. Because on the way down to the pasture, the story was different. 

We had to go down a hill. And as we went down the hill, for a horse for their perspective, all of a sudden, they can't see behind them very well.

So, it's like behind her was completed gone and she couldn't access that area of her awareness so she started to worry.  She started to worry that something - a cougar or something big - was going to come, appear at the crest of the hill and come down on her and us as we descended the hill.

That's when the emotion of worry started to come in for her. And when that emotion of worry comes in.  That's when I need to be in the place that I'm holding her, I need to hold her through her emotions, I need to be there with her. 

I need to show her that I can hold her and be there and she's not on her own. If I was to get caught up in her emotions at that point in time, I can tell you at that point in time, I did have an instant when it was like,

"OMG, what if she's going to run off?!!"

To take off to the herd of horses, she's going to slip and fall, she's going to hurt herself. And it's going to be a disaster. Those things were going through my mind because she started to bounce around like crazy, rear up, and go sideways down the hill.

So, at that point in time, I have an emotional reaction.  My horse was having an emotional reaction to the situation. What if something big comes down that hill and I can't see it coming and I won't be able to do anything about it.

At that point in time, that's when our partnership really kicks in.  

She trusted me. 

She's a 1400-pound horse. If she didn't trust me, she would have just broken away and taken off towards the herd of horses. But she didn't. She stayed with me. I trusted her that she wouldn't jump on top of me. She trusted me that I would be her guide throughout this.

So, we have the partnership, the trust, the companionship, then when emotions get into the scene, like they did with my horse on the other day, and there's fear, we as riders need to be...

...the GUIDE and not fall into FEARS.

That's when I still need to be the guide. And I need to be not falling into her story of fear. There's a temptation to do that isn't there?  But I need to have the strength not to do that.

And this is exactly what we do in my program, we have a process that shows you how to be your own effective guide so that you can then be your horse's effective guide and rider.


I need to be her emotional guide at that point and give her emotional guidance, not controlling. I'm acknowledging her emotions, but then I'm still guiding her.

So, I still walked down the hill, no matter what she was doing, bouncing in the air going sideways down the hill, I still walk down the hill.

"It's okay, I'm here for you. We're still going to walk into the forest into the deep snow to get home."

That's what I mean about being a guide. It's not a dominating leadership. It's not an egocentric way of approaching things where the power comes into it.

It's still staying as the guide. 

An effective rider knows how emotions come through us. That's a key point.

We're going to have emotions, we're going to go through difficult times with our horses, but how do emotions go through us? How do they get stuck? How do we unstuck them? How do we get emotions going through, so then we can access the ability to evaluate and have discernment?

Have a process for before you get with your horse, helping you with emotions, helping you with being able to access discernment, so that you're well prepared for when these situations come around.

And then having an actual process and during the times that you're riding your horse, ie. having a process that when you're with your horse, and you really need to access discernment, that you can access it quickly and access it easily.

And this is what we do in my program as well, we have the process of preparation, and we have the process during when you're with your horse.

So, we strive to learn the very, very best that we can to be for horses, at the end of the day, you have to get out with your horse and just do it, don't you. I mean, we can talk about it and discuss, but you have to do your preparation, you have to do your homework, do the time away from your horse, and then just get out with your horse and do it and not be pondering everything that can go wrong.

So, getting into the perfectionism that I talked about and pondering about, well, what if this goes wrong? What if that goes wrong? What if this ... that's falling into a story?

So, keeping it simple, having processes of preparation that you have before you're with your horse, and having a process that's effective, that helps you be an effective rider, when you're actually with your horse is the best that you can possibly be with your horse. And so, you can ride and be effective.

If you would like support in this way, click the link below and we can chat about how we can help you with your we can help you to get to the point where you are an effective rider and effective at being able to access discernment. Because discernment can be just one little thing.

It can be just one tiny thing that needs changed with the way you're working with your horse, the way you're riding, the way you're seeing things and the way you're perceiving. But you're not able to see it ... you need help with that. And that's what we do in my program.

CLICK HERE to schedule a call with us!

About the Author Chris Adderson

Chris Adderson teaches riders and horses how to move with ease and grace to create astounding results and lifelong relationships of their dreams. She teaches valuable skills and educational strategies to get more results, quicker and faster.

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