Harmony is to fit together, to join, like the relationship between different pitches in a song. One note on its own is good, two notes with slightly differing pitches together sound better. (More musical connotations).
In your training you are aiming for a harmonious picture, but what does this actually mean? Well, think about being equal in thought, attentive, sensitive, listening to each other where every muscle you use, every thought you have results in a reaction, either by the horse or you.
What the judge is looking for and therefore, what you should strive for is HARMONY.
When this is achieved, the communication between you and your horse is barely perceptible; you will appear to move ‘as one’. The horse should be reading and responding to your body language, his heart rate will rise and fall with yours. The two minds, that of your horse and your own fully synchronised.
Imaging then that you are frustrated, angry or anxious – this will, without doubt, have an effect on your horse. How important then for your mind to be quietly focussed in the present moment? – The Here and Now.
So, how do you achieve this state of mind? There have been many studies on the subject of sports psychology and as always the answer is through practice; you cannot stop the feelings of frustration or anxiety so you should notice them and without being judgemental about yourself, control your reactions to them. It is when in a relaxed state of concentration that the sense of effortlessness comes. Only then can you become fully immersed in the feeling of the ‘Here and Now’ because you are not reacting to the feelings or thinking of the consequences. This is called being in a ‘flow’ state.
No matter how you are feeling, learn to say ‘Hi’ to those feelings but pay them no attention. Park them and continue with your training. They can sit and watch you ride well!
Here’s what to do … focus wholly on the current exercise, this will serve to optimise cooperation and harmony between you and your horse.