It's interesting to have ridden with Mark for 10 years now - his thinking and presentation of concepts continue to evolve. He's increasingly focussed on mental/inside the horse/rider issues and less on technique, although of course that comes up.
Some of the questions/topics:
- Meeting a brace (either a push or a pull) with softness so that the motion can continue and be directed, instead of being blocked.
- Mental softening rather than a physical release - keeping the connection while providing softness.
- Just think what you want to do and go do it - like when you rode as a kid. We humans tend to overcomplicate and lose our focus.
- We often don't direct and lead the horse with our minds, we just react after the fact. It's your intention and purpose that direct the horse much more than your aids.
- Keep your mind focussed on what you want the horse to do, not on what the horse is doing (that you don't want the horse to do - this is just a distraction).
- The physical cue is just an immediate secondary cue that reinforces the mental cue - the thought of what you want the horse to do. Physical cues aren't really needed once you're clear what you want and the horse understands - I've certainly found this to be true.
All really, really good stuff that's just the thing I need right now.
Tomorrow we ride . . . !!!