Some time ago I read Nicole’s post on Zen and the Art of Baby Horse Management regarding the trust bank, and recently this concept has really been resonating with me. Basically, the trust bank is a concept that you have an imaginary bank of trust between you and your horse. Each time you do something right, and improve your horse’s confidence in you, you make a deposit into the bank. Each time you do something wrong, be it totally botch a distance to a jump that your horse has to save you (totally guilty of this one), or lose your patience during a ride, you withdraw from the bank.
As of the past month, I have really been working on being in the moment with each ride (inspired by Emily’s post on the Exquisite Equine), and riding the horse that I have, not the horse that I want. I have also focused on being positive, practicing an insane amount of patience, and just really being the rider that I continually strive to be.
I am not going to say that it was totally easy. There were some rides where I had a rough day at work or other stress and we just hacked out that day on the buckle and did no real work, because I knew that I wasn’t in the right frame of mind. However, I think that by doing all of the above, I have made significant deposits into my “trust bank” with Mabou.
He normally takes his time moseying over to me when I go to bring him in for our rides. But the past couple of weeks he sees me walking up to his paddock and is at the gate right when I get there. He is always a happy horse, but he just seems so much more content, and much more willing to try since he has realized that I am not going to pick fights with him over little things that aren’t going well in my rides, even when we work on our more difficult flatwork, or things that we may be struggling with.
Even more, I am enjoying my rides so much when I get myself into the right mental state of gratitude. It is so rewarding to celebrate the good in each ride (however small) rather then let myself ruminate on the things that I couldn’t get right each ride. I genuinely hope that if I keep this up long enough then I won’t have to try and I will eventually become second nature.
Does anyone else also believe in the “trust bank” with your horse?