A Hot Seat - is it permanent? With Annyka Overton.


My interpretation of a hot seat is a rider who tends to influence horses in such a way, that quick, forward movement and somewhat erratic behaviour is seen as the norm, and is possibly encouraged.

In my discussions with riders who are aware of their tendency to have a hot seat, are willing to own that they love a horse to move forward positively and with energy.  The want to horse to take them boldly forward and like a strong contact. They would prefer an overly forward horse, to a lesser moving and energetic one, even if that forward is seen as over the top, dangerous or difficult to ride.

There are two ways I like to look at what has created the hot seat in the first place;

1. The physical tendency of a rider to use their aids quickly, sharply and with an expectation of the horse to react immediately

2. The emotional response of the rider where there is a positive gain from being seen to sit on a horse that is difficult to ride, or strong.

"A rider who believes they have a hot seat will always have a hot seat until they decide that another way of asking for a horse to go is preferable.

But once the rider decides they no longer want to have a hot seat, it can be changed instantly"

The rider will only be able to physically change how he uses his body, when he consciously changes what his outcomes are. When a rider stacks more pain to the hot seat, and more pleasure to a calm, secure and centred seat, the unconscious brain will start to learn the strategies to move the rider towards the calmer seat.

You see our brain can only take on approx 7 chunks of information at any one given time, but we are bombarded with millions of pieces of information coming at us. What 7 chunks we pay attention to and notice from all those millions of chunks are those which our brain has been conditioned to think is most important. It will quite literally delete a whole bunch of stuff, which never gets to our awareness simply because it has been told not to notice them as they are not important. Nuts huh!

Up to now, the unconscious brain was only taking in information telling the rider that he needed to be stronger and more dominant. It then deleted the times when the horse showed signs of wanting to relax and settle. The unconscious part of the brain simply didn't let those signs through, so the rider didn't notice the opportunity offered by the horse. The unconscious brain thought it was not important enough to show you.

If you were to look around your room now for 15 seconds and look at all the things in there that are brown. Now shut your eyes.....and say all the things you noticed that were green. Your brain would say Huh...you only told me to notice the brown, I couldn't take all of it in. You said to only pay attention to the brown.

And that my friends is how the Reticular Activation System works. It's is what helps us learn, and kept us alive as a species for thousands of years. It's really useful most of the time, unless we are telling it to focus on the wrong things.

Let’s look at how having a hot seat could have been encouraged to begin with. Let’s say a rider who has moved on from the beginner horse to a more advanced mount, perhaps that horse showed some signs of being difficult to ride. If a young rider is acknowledged positively for managing a difficult horse while they were younger, they may associate riding a difficult horse with positive emotions.

Therefore they may encourage difficult behaviour to create ……. amongst their family or peers a sense of ability or talent.

I know many riders who continually have difficult horses that “play up” in the show ring or buck. But, when you look closely, that behaviour is encouraged. The riders have no idea they are doing it, it is simply a learned response from patterns gone by that have created positive reinforcement to the difficuilt horse.

The unconscious thoughts are so subtle, they don't ever register,  but to the horse, the aids are not.

In order to change the behavior, we first must look at what created the thinking in the first place.

"If the rider genuinely wants to change, they will need to be willing to look inside of themselves for answers"

They will need to decide whole heartedly that encouraging a new way of going for the horse is both beneficial and possible.

Until the rider is willing to look at whether that behaviour in their horse is working towards the goals they want, they may never find the success they are craving.

When the rider decides to focus on and notice new patterns in the horse, and genuinely see them as important, the unconscious brain will show you those moments that you would have otherwise missed, then the body will follow instantaneously to accomodate a new way of going.

Here are few questions to ask your self to experiment with this concept

What patterns do you notice that seem to be a consistent frustration in your life? What things are being show to you on a consistent basis? What reward or gain may you have experienced in the past from that action? Why do you no longer want to experience that action? How would you prefer it to be? Why do you want to change? What do you need to notice more of to get closer to what it is you want to experience? Then allow you subconscious to show what you have been missing out on.

 If you would like to delve a little deeper and work with me personally on a current frustration then get in touch.

Have fun, Annyka xx http://www.chameleoncoaching.com.au

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