The Power of Walk


Sit down with a nice cup of tea and have a read of Diana's latest horsey posts.

Why I don’t look at my horse

Nov 08, 2023

One of the advantages of in-hand work from a Cavesson and walking backwards in front of the horse is that you can see the horse and make subtle corrections to straightness and posture. I spent some time teaching myself this - it is a useful skill to learn and add to the toolbox.

However, I have found myself returning to mostly side by side work for in-hand. I think that side by side work gives a better feeling of doing “with” instead of doing “to”.  Going in front of the horse gives a nice feeling of drawing towards, going behind the horse gives more of a moving away energy. They all have their place and I use them all. But I believe that “with” is where most of the magic happens for me.


Working beside a horse, in my experience, creates a deeper connection through touch and energy. I soften my eyes and bring my focus into my body and from there I connect to the horse and become super focused on sensations which I receive in my body. This can be physical sensations - a lean into my body, a slight shrinking away from my body or one rein heavier. Or it can be an energy feeling, like synchronised footfalls, calmness, elevated energy.

As soon as I look at the horse with sharp eyes, my ability to notice these subtleties diminishes because vision has a tendency to want to be the dominant source of information. Connection through vision is a very human trait, not a very horse one. When I’m interacting with my horses in the herd, I often close my eyes to soak in the full experience.

Now even if I am working off the Cavesson, either drawing towards me or lungeing, I don’t look at the horse with sharp vision. A soft, peripheral focus is optimum for me. In most photos of me where I am really in the zone, ridden or in-hand, you will notice it looks as if my eyes are shut (they are only half shut!). Being autistic, eye contact is not so natural for me as for others. It feels too intense and causes my other senses to shut down.

 I wonder how the horse experiences an intense stare?

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