By: Deb Kitchenmaster
Have you heard of “BOB” who was inducted into the Iowa baseball hall of fame as a “player of baseball” on the thirteenth of May 2017? That would be my brother, Bob Williams, from Newton, Iowa. Have you heard of Bob the Builder – the animated show where Bob is a building contractor? Bob the Builder specializes in masonry, along with his colleague, Wendy, and various “NEIGH”bors, and friends.

Yes! I’m a sister AND I do hang out with our future generation from time to time. Baseball requires practice, more practice, keep practicing; show up, be on time, focus, rhythm, and teamwork. Building requires counting the cost, blueprint, materials, a plan, strategy, timing, vision, intention and connections. The foundation you lay is extremely important because this is the space on which you build and play!

“B” – Build. Please join me in the horse corral. Let’s start with “warm up.” This would be the space and time that you are engaging in groundwork activities with your horse. Warm up is a strong foundational block for setting your horse up for success. Warm ups could include playing games with your horse or starting with a simple pattern of a figure “8.” Your intention is to BUILD confidence in your horse so that it becomes a part of your horse’s character. For example, when a horse puts their ears back they are unsure. It’s in those times you don’t want to push him. Just back off a little bit and come back to it. You are more aware of the horse than the exercise. You want to be clear with your horse but HOW you ASK him is really important when your intention is to BUILD. Be very clear what warm up is and what advancement is. If I’m going to advance a horse’s riding, my warm up is just about warm up. I’m simply warming my horse up for when I saddle up and ride. If I’m wanting to do something more progressive on the ground, then my ride will be quite casual. Bottom line, if it’s intense on the ground, it’s going to be casual and relaxing on the horse’s back. If it’s casual and relaxing on the ground, then it’s going to be more intense on the horse’s back. You know your warm up is successful when you can say YES to these 3 questions. Is my horse calm? Is my horse connected? Is my horse responsive? Once I get all three, I’m done and it’s time to ride.

“U” – Unity; in order for us to have TRUE UNITY it is important we learn how to satisfy our horse’s needs. The TWO most sensitive places on a horse are their mouth and where the apples come out (their blind spot). Have you heard or even said, ‘This horse has a hard mouth.”? No such thing. There are horses with dull minds because the rider is continually in their mouth. The horse NEEDS to experience that when you pick up the reins, your hands will be light, polite and respectful. There are exercises you the rider can do to disconnect your hands from your body when you ride (Positional awareness of your elbows). There’s nothing you can’t do when you and your horse are one. It’s like ballroom dancing. You and your horse are a unit. The only letter missing from unit to make unity is the ‘y.’

“I” – In, it’s an inside thing. You can sit at a piano but the music comes from INSIDE. You can sit on the back of a horse but the riding comes from INSIDE. The eye of your understanding is INSIDE.

“L” – Linguistics is the origin of language. The difference between “soda,” “pop,” and “cola” is language. When I say “WHOA” to a horse it means ALL four feet stop and stand still even if it’s just for a moment. It does NOT mean slow down; it means STOP.
EVERYTME. Consistency of language between you (leader) and your horse (follower) is possibly the most efficient building tool.

“D” – Diversity is variety, range and mixture. Each breed of horse has its strengths and weaknesses. Some horses are introverts, extroverts, right brain, left brain. KNOW your horse and BUILD.

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