I ran across this definition of “tricks” today while reading Dressage Different’s blog:
Though the horse might know all the tricks, they are performing them like a circus animal, without working correctly through their body.
I thought this was a very interesting way to look at a horse that can perform all the moves that are required in dressage (or the seven games) but they are not engaged in the actions mind, body and soul. So they may look fancy but there is no purpose to what they are doing which causes them to go outside of their body and their minds go elsewhere.
I think this directly relates to Billy, the games and the patterns that we’ve been playing with. I think that I’ve pushed him one time too many when playing instead of waiting for him to work it out on his own. I tend to get direct line and want something to happen right now. I know that because he did it yesterday, he “understands” what I’m asking, so I’ll just support him with my stick and string. I think I’m supporting. He feels forced. So therefore our play sessions begin to look like two beings going through the motions, performing tricks and both being in our own little world.
I’ve also heard it called a softness in the mind. When the horse is soft it means they are engaged mentally. When they are light they are engaged physically. And it’s very easy to fall into the trap of having your horse be light, but not soft. HERE is a wonderful blog about that very thing! I think it’s very important to get both from my horse, but I also think that it’s a very difficult thing. When I’m sitting in the house, reading about it or even just thinking about it I get a little intimidated and think maybe it would be easier to just go out and ride him, however that may look. Just get ‘er done. Then I think about how that would LOOK and decide I would rather try for the softness and lightness.
So I have a lot of work to do on myself. Sigh. Never-ending self improvement, right!?