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.