The Mirror Game
The aim of this game, the Mirror Game, is to deepen the bond with your horse, establish a sense of lightness and fun, establish a deep Comfort Zone with you being around your horse and doing stuff together, but doing it at your horse’s pace. There’s lots more about this game on the forum with great questions and interesting “problems” resolved.
The advanced version of this game explains more clearly where we are going with this. But imagine that once you are good at “mirroring” your horse, that they would then mirror you. Imagine what that will be like in the saddle when the togetherness is so big that as you dance, your horse dances with you. Ooooo…..
I don’t know about you but I have a tendency to take things far too seriously and can get bogged down in that. My new big dressage horse Oliver brought home to me just how important a sense of lightness and fun is. He wants it all the time, even when learning something new.
This Lesson assumes that you have found a place where you and your horse feel peaceful or happy in your connection, that you are familiar with the Comfort Zone Model, that you’re open to the idea that you will be feeling your horse in one or more of those five ways of feeling and that you’ve been exploring that early warning signal that something is Not Quite Right. There are links below if you would like to review to review any of these lessons.
You can do this Lesson in the paddock or field where your horse lives – but only if you feel safe in that area as per this lesson about keeping you and your horse feeling safe in a herd situation.
Contact me if you have not yet developed a complete feeling of safety in the paddock, field, arena, stable or barn. There’s private session options with me or with one of our staff OR put your hand up for some attention on a Live Seminar, by email beforehand…
I have called this the Mirror Game because the word “mirror” gives me a feeling of the togetherness that we are looking for – although we are not strictly being a mirror image of our horse.
This is NOT a game to drill you and your horse with. I am emphasizing again that it is about having a sense of lightness and fun. I find the Mirror game a useful thing to fall back on if I need to lighten up either myself or a situation. You’ll see what I mean. Enjoy!
Watch on youtube if you need to.
Keys to Success
Watch your video first and then these keys to success will make sense!
1. Some of you will discover that you need to spend longer establishing that peaceful or happy place to start off with – just sitting there with your horse, connecting or breathing exercise, before you can go on to this Lesson. You don’t have to actually move on to each Lesson. You CAN just watch the video and use it when the time is perfect for you and your horse.
2. All these lessons are about using your feelings – your good ones of peacefulness, happiness and excitement and your not so good ones of Not Quite Right, frustration, any level of fear and even anger – as messages that are meant to be listened to and acted on, and in the case of a Not Quite Right, disappear. So when you feel something is Not Quite Right – stop, back away from your horse until you feel better, go into your breathing for a Quiet Mind and then if it’s OK, go back to mirroring again.
3. EVERY time you feel that something is Not Quite Right, stop what you are doing and back off – at any Not Quite Right OR a slightly escalated level of fear OR frustration OR anger or any other feeling that isn’t excitement or happiness or peacefulness. Have I repeated that enough here to make a big enough point?!
4. EVEN if that means that you aren’t doing this exercise yet, even if it means that you have to go back to just sitting there for a while, doing nothing but the breathing exercise to establish a Quiet Mind and a deeper Comfort Zone for an especially traumatised horse.
5. If your horse trots, then don’t run after them, walk – and just trot with them in your mind. Keep the FEELING thing going while you trot with them in your mind.
6. When it’s not working you simply need to change something – stop, back away, use the breathing for a Quiet Mind to get ideas about what you could change.
1. First of all remember that every so called “problem” is just another opportunity to deepen your bond with your horse.
2. If your horse runs away – don’t chase after them, just copy them from further away.
3. If you’ve got a big feeling of Not Quite Right and you can’t figure out what to do about it and a Quiet Mind isn’t working – then ask me a question on the Discussion Group, send me a question for our live seminar or organise a private with me or one of my staff.
4. Ditto if your horse doesn’t like the game. Check that they are happy about the connection itself. Back off and just be with them in a Quiet Mind until you understand what they don’t like about it.
Written Version of the Video Audio
This Mirror Game is best done out in the paddock or field, although you could play it in the arena if you have to.
Many horses have had a lot of being bossed around, a lot of being bullied even and not too many people playing with them with fun and feeling good – so enjoy this game folks because feeling good is what it is about!
What you do in this Game is that you do whatever your horse does – you copy them – and you get right into it – you have fun copying them. You’re watching Kerrie here learning this for the first time.
Twitch your ear when they twitch their ear, swish your tail when they swish their tail. Take a step when they take a step. Take a step in the same direction as them. Chew when they chew. FEEL into them as you do all this copying them. This is a really big part of deepening the bond – put bells around what I am saying here – FEEL into them as you are copying them.
One lady in a clinic went further than I had ever thought of going and got down and rolled with her horse while he was rolling and she roared with laughter and happiness.
Now if you live in a place where you are going to feel just too ridiculous copying absolutely everything your horse does – then copy them in your mind, in your imagination – but still get into it – FEEL into what they are doing just as if you were physically doing it.
Kerrie’s doing it a lot in her head, I think she was feeling shy, but she’s getting right into the feel of it and I can tell that because of the way that her horse is behaving.
For many people, this is the place at which they first feel the happiness bubbling in their horse.
Use any feelings of Not Quite Right to copy them from further away – even stop and leave the paddock or field for a while if you have to, breathe for a Quiet Mind, figure out what you need to know or do and go back and mirror again.
When you have found a peaceful or happy place about the mirroring AND have enjoyed a happy feeling for a while at the copying itself, ONLY THEN are you ready to start asking them to do something. Finding a happy place mirroring might take minutes or it might take days. If it DOES take days, it will be time well spent.
What you are watching now is Missy at the very beginning of her copying Kerrie instead. Watch carefully and you’ll see her starting to slow her steps down and move in time with Kerrie. Once your horse starts to copy you – then you can take it in turns – sometimes you copy them and sometimes they copy you.
What fun that can be – I once had a horse copy me doing the Spanish walk!
Your next Lesson talks about how to know when to be extra gentle and considerate – and when to be firm – it’s a BIG topic.
I look forward to seeing you then!