"When you're developing your riding, you really need to focus on balance and on developing a feel for your horse," said Tammy Pate in her Saturday session. "So often, we can get wrapped up in physical maneuvers and we miss the feel of horsemanship."
Pate discussed how yoga is one way to help you connect with your horse. "Yoga means to unite, and we all want to unite with our horses," she said. "It involves mental, spiritual and physical balance, so we have to think of these elements in our riding."
In horsemanship, Pate described mental balance as helping to get your horse in a calm state, so that he'll be able to learn. Physical balance begins with proper seat, as Pate emphasized the importance of having a vertical line from your shoulders to hips to heels. Having this correct seat allows riders to develop a feel for riding, which starts in the core.
Pate encouraged the clinic riders to use their energy to establish movement in their horses. "Imagine that you're standing up to get out of a chair," she said. "Then, without using your legs, you can think this same thought and use the same energy to ask for a forward transition. This is a good exercise to help develop feel, because you start to realize how little you can do to create movement."
Being realistic about your riding ability is also a key part to maintaining balance. "We have to be honest riders and honest with ourselves about what we can do," she said. "Then, we'll know what we need to do to improve our fitness and we'll be able to prepare our horses for what we need them to do."
Pate will have her final riding clinic on Sunday, and she'll wrap-up her Mane Event sessions with a demonstration later in the afternoon.