Tammy, I thought everybody who rides with Josh knew everybody else who rides with Josh. Josh has saved Philine's life quite a number of times, and also the lives of several of her horses, so you needn't worry; she's in good hands. Cheers -- Dr. Deb
And Philine: Yes, 'hard eyes' and 'soft eyes' as riding terminology do originate with Sally Swift's "Centered Riding", a book I recommend to everybody in our school.
'Hard eyes" happen when something grabs YOUR Birdie -- most likely to happen when you're afraid that something's going to happen that you can't control; for example, the rider staring fixedly at a fence she fears may be too high, or staring 'hard' at a bicyclist or motorcyclist who is coming toward them on the road or trail. When 'hard eyes' are being used, the focus is narrow and the person is not aware of having peripheral vision.
'Soft eyes' means taking in all that is in front and to the sides, all at once; it means using, and being aware that you are using, your peripheral vision. 'Soft eyes' cannot happen so long as there is any fear operating your body.
Philine, YOUR HORSE is not a 'nervous Nellie'; it is you who are unsure, tentative, or distracted, and this is what you transmit to your horse which the horse reads as fear in you. And by the way -- the horse reads the truth, because you are a rider who carries lots of fear. This is what Josh helps you with the most.
Fear goes down in proportion as confidence goes up. Confidence goes up as your own focus -- which means "in the moment awareness" goes up.
Hope you guys are having some nice Spring weather up Edmonton way now, and a nice summer of great rides ahead of you. -- Dr. Deb