A friend asked me if there was anything I'd been working on prior to this latest clinic with Mark Rashid and Crissi McDonald that they helped me with.
Sending intention through the reins is one thing I've been playing with. I got the feel of that last spring with Mark's help, actually Mark helped me feel this before last spring but I keep reviewing it. What I experienced this time is the connection from my center, not just the feeling in the reins. Hmm, my first experience was feeling this with my hands. Last spring, I recall it was feeling it through my hands and arms up into my torso. This time it was feeling it from my center, connecting through my torso, shoulders, arms, hands and with the horse. The parts become the one!
It really is 'doing things together' and it really is 'with a thought'.
So subject line is inaccurate. This is intention through connecting being to being. Reins aren't required.
And gosh oh golly, I really can't describe what I learned because it was experiential and required a knowing body/mind to demonstrate and guide a learning body/mind to find it. It's not that it's personal or private or anything. How would you describe the sound of the wind to someone who was born deaf? How would you describe the taste of a strawberry to someone without the sense of taste or smell? Maybe you know this, in which case I don't need to put words to it. I had heard about it and thought I knew what was being talked about. And partially experienced it in past clinics. I didn't know what I was missing except that my horses would reflect that togetherness in action was here and gone again.
Other things I've been working on? Using only the muscles needed and letting loose all other muscles. I'm making progress and learned clearly that I'm using my back muscles more than my core muscles (especially obvious when we canter), and using my back muscles even when I'm engaging my core muscles. So I'm bringing my awareness to that as often as I remember -- walking, sitting, riding, driving in the car, doing dishes, wherever I am, whatever I'm doing... My core muscles are a bit sore!
I also learned that when I was ground driving, I used my body for the turns to the right, and my left arm for my turns to the left. Oops! That was an easy fix. Then added to that using connection and intention and wow -- fluid transitions of rhythm and direction. Then I brought this to my riding on the last morning, on my been-there-done-that Morgan mare. She likes the new me!