I read an article a few weeks ago, can’t remember where, but it featured a story with Tom Dorrance talking about the precious time after a ride, calling it “Buddy up time.” Buddy up is the time spent with the horse after an encounter. Buddy up time seems to have meaning in three areas; reinforcing, appreciating, and forgiving.
Through buddy up time, a sense of calmness and relaxation comes over the horse reinforcing particular moments of clarity between horse and rider. Buddy up time really reassures the horse of the good things that you may have to offer.
If you’re not taking the time to show your appreciation to the horse, chances are you’re not showing the people in your life the appreciation they deserve either. Horses enjoy acts of appreciation, reassurance that you need their help, friendship, or love. Show that you do care.
There are days when you know you asked the horse for too much physically or mentally, frustrating or scaring them, and these are perfect times to ask for forgiveness. Acknowledge your short comings and promise to learn from the experiences.
Try to go through the three keys of buddy up time after your ride. Learn to be with your horse in the moment, acknowledge your horse silently in your own mind. Learn to show recognition for their efforts, learn to take accountability for your actions by apologizing to them, and above all else, show them appreciation through love.
Learn to be in the moment, right then and there, just you and the horse. No cell phone, no talking, just being and enjoying. Whether its 5 minutes or 2 hours, it’s an integral part of your development. It really has nothing to do with the horse or other people, but it has everything to do with you. Buddy up time is about you showing others that you care and that you are truly listening to them in order to learn from them, not the other way around.