Saturday, July 31, 2010


I had a fun time riding today. I tried an experiment. Sensei is all about doing less, getting horses to work off of a feel. He does not get English riding at all, too much contact. Trust me we go round and round about this, but I have decided to just give in and do it his way. Good learning experience.

So today I decided to try to ride with no contact at all, just all off of leg. It was really interesting. I made my reins as lose as possible and then held on to the horn of the saddle to keep myself from cheating. Just just my legs. Now I have to admit that we did fairly well, but not perfect. I did a figure eight around two barrels, and even managed to weave some cones.

I did learn where her sticky spots were. Actually just going around the rail was the hardest part! Certain areas of the arena pull her into the center where as other push her to the wall. For some reason she is really pulled by barrels. Maybe I should do barrels with her. . . .Okay that would be a site, the poky little pony doing barrels.

After that I tried the same thing, but would just lightly lift up on the side where I wanted to make a correction. Still no contact, well okay, in my book no contact but in Sensei’s book if you touch the reins, it is contact, so I guess it depends on who you talk to. She was actually responding really well to the lightest touch.

I was a little tickled that I was riding around with no contact, steering my horse with only my legs, where as I few months ago if I did not have a death grip on the reins I would feel out of control. It really is amazing. I keep thinking, and where will I be in another 6 months?

I then tried something else that is difficult for us. Trotting around the arena, I mean all the way around without breaking. Poky little pony likes to break if she thinks she can get away with it. This is where I have a HUGE issue. I am not consistent. That would be in the saddle, in harness, or in real life. I told you, horses show you what your issues are, be it in the barn or not. I tend to get side tracked and want to do something else. So I made sure that we made it all the way around, at a trot. That took us quite a bit of time, but I did it.

Over all it was a great riding session. I was pretty proud of what we got done.


  1. It's tough to maintain the level of concentration needed - it's a great discipline builder.

    You're absolutely right, those holes are not just in the barn...

  2. I'm so glad you had a great session today. It sure sounds like you're having fun and learning lots of new things in your lessons. Good for you.

  3. Its amazing what you can learn if you let yourself. I have a tendancy to think I am always right, but when I ask someones opinion, I try thier idea and see if it works, then make my choices if its right for me, but its hard to do.

  4. It sounds like you had a great ride and maybe a revelation.
    I also have an English riding background and keep trying to have contact. I'll have to try holding the horn. I can't wait to go out and see what we can do!
    Thanks for the inspriation!

  5. I taught Indigo to ride bridleless by my leg. I used a crop to direct her head and neck the way I wanted to go and since she knows how to follow her nose (haha) it just all fell into place. Plus shes a super sensitive girl she responds to tiny little cues. Thats why we get along so well. Other people think shes being forward but really shes just responding to teeny little changes you give her without most people noticing.

  6. Neat things here!
    I love reading everything you write(you remind me of me..if I had been blogging, when I got my mare 4 years ago)I think the way you write.
    Yesss! My mare has taught me about myself...and I watch others too... their up in the horses behaviors!
    Disciplines are tough to maintain...diligence is a muscle!( I am sure of it!)

    I liked to cool down from rides(when I had an arena to ride in) with the reins on the pommel and my arms out like an airplane...head straight and looking to where I wished to go. I would make a pattern ..easy at first, like diagonals across the whole. Then, working serpentines off the wall and back 2 - 3 times per long wall. All without reins and with body movements helps build confidence that they feel your directional intentions- with out your hands!

  7. Very cool! That sounds like so much fun! I grew up riding western so contact was the hard one for me lol. Now I do both.


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