Perfect Practice 2. Matchy Matchy
Matching Steps for breathwork and connection.
This can be done in an arena or a quiet corner of a field.
Set up a corridor about 16 metres long, this can be adjusted to suit the size of your equine.
Place a marker at the beginning, the middle and the end.
Start by centering yourself, just check in to how you are feeling, your breathing and your posture.
Feel the ground through your feet, soft knees, shoulders down and relaxed, soft focus.
Feel an awareness to your equine, before you start, take a deep breath in and let out a long audible sigh, if your equine does the same, show him you have heard him by copying him and doing the same again.
Walk forward, as you proceed, try and match steps with your equine, his right, your right, his left, your left.
This takes practice, try not to over think it, but let it flow.
As it develops, and it will, pay attention to your leading position, ideally not in front of your equines nose and not behind his shoulder.
Keep a soft feel on the lead rope, it is your live communication with your equine, be aware of any "conversation" that takes place.
Walk where you feel necessary, when you feel ready, go to your start marker and halt.
Again just check in with yourself and your breathing, be aware of your equine, how relaxed is he? Is he mirroring you?
On an in breath, proceed forward, matching steps with your equine.
At the middle marker, halt, long breath out, be aware of any communication from your equine, particularly any signs of release and relaxation.
When you are ready, on an in breath, proceed forward, SMALL steps.
You are now trying to influence your equine to do the same.
At the end marker, halt again.
Carry on doing this, walking around the arena or field, practicing matching steps.
Alternate walking through the corridor, with SMALL steps and BIG long steps.
Don't expect it all to happen straight away, it takes practice.
Keep the sessions short, as mentally for both of you it can quite exhausting !
Introduce and use matching steps any time you want to "connect."
Use them to show your equine you are "listening" to him, use them to help gain his focus and attention.
They can be a powerful tool in your quest for mutual connection.