First of all, I’m not a singer. I would never sing in front of anyone besides my horse, to be honest.
So you ask, “How did this start and … why…?”
I’ll tell you.
It started about a million years ago when I was learning how to ski. Well, actually, it started before that… I was always the youngest/smallest. In my family, I am the youngest. I was the youngest cousin. On my block growing up, I was the smallest – I was last to get picked for a team.
So when it came time to learn to ski, EVERYONE ELSE was way more capable and advanced than I was. I begged my father to give me a private lesson, which he did. And here is what he said: If you ever want to feel more secure, sing. If you ever want to find the rhythm, sing. And, if you need to forget about what you are thinking about, sing.
He told me that to ski well, one has to let the body and brain click. That takes time, relaxation and rhythm. “Sing”, he said. Just sing to yourself. It will calm you, it will find your rhythm and it will sooth and smooth your gait.
And it did.
And I do… I find myself singing whenever I need to calm an animal or myself. I sing when I need to trust in my body… I sing when I need to forget.
FINN. HIS TURNING MECHANISM WAS FAULTY.
As I’m retraining Finn – saying ‘it’s like riding a bike’, is incorrect. For me, sitting in the saddle has the same comfortable feeling but for Finn – not so much.
He has been free to make his own decisions for 2 years now, and he would like to continue doing that.
To be honest, Finn makes pretty good decisions when we are out riding, so I’m almost OK with that… but, he’s getting sloppy in his steering. Oh he’s find with going left or right, but don’t try to define that in any way – because right now, it is merely left or right. No fancy stuff.
So, it was time to fix that. Which we did, yesterday.
I FOUND MYSELF SINGING TO FINN.
I found myself, totally without thinking, singing to Finn as I was training him. I wanted him to feel relaxed and not under pressure to ‘get it right’ for me – and for him to forget about the dive bombing barn owls.
Generally, I find myself replacing the words to West Side Story’s “Tonight, Tonight”. (Why I picked that, I have no idea… I don’t even remember the movie, really… but I think it is a song from my childhood.) My song to Finn (to the tune of Tonight Tonight) goes something like this: “Good Boy, Good Boy, good boygoodboygoodboy, Good boy good boy goooooud boooooooy… go-oood booyyyy”. It actually works. I’m relaxed and he’s relaxed.
In the middle of that, in the same sing songy voice, I tell him to, “Easy and Stop” or “Move to the riiiight…”. He hears it every time.
Sometimes I change it up and break into a Robert Goulet song. Why? – I do not know. I think my Mother, when she was going through her divorce from my father, used to play, CAMELOT on the stereo all the time. So, I memorized, “If ever I would leave you…”. OK, well, anyway, I find myself replacing the lyrics to that as I train, too.
“If ever you would go right, It would never be a bad thinggggg, or better the bessssst…”.
Finn is a bit (being kind here) insecure when he is in a new place – especially with uncooperative owls and interesting, strange horses. So, singing to him, I think, brings a continuity to wherever we are. If I sing, he knows I’m relaxed and so he relaxes – most of the time.
It was a good day.
MAY BUCKET FUND EMERGENCY SEIZURE! 53 HORSES! STARVING, PREGNANT MARES, TINY WEANLINGS AND YEARLINGS… click here to read their story. Click here to Donate! Thank you!
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–We are OVER HALF WAY THERE to helping ALL of these horses have a better life! (THIS MARE IN PARTICULAR JUST BREAKS MY HEART!! She is 22, starved and pregnant.)
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Ive loved horses my whole life and have always found time to *leisurely* trail ride. Last year I married into a ranch family and LET ME TELL YOU those horses are completely different. Built to work, minds do thier own. We worked cattle today and they were all very fresh. I found myself singing to him while loping after the cattle, and I think it helped calm me and him and find us a good rhythm. Definitely going to continue lol
I do exactly this Dawn, I started late to learn to ski… My coach (Italian in NZ ) said SiNG…I found turning in skiing hard…finally realised it’s like riding a sepentine and voila I can turn. So I tried singing to my horses… Makes me breathe and they listen. Keep up the great work with bucket fund.