Just For Fun
Do you ever look at a rider and wonder why their horse puts up with them when your horse seems to get upset by your every move? It’s frustrating to watch someone who appears to have not a care in the world bouncing around an arena on a horse that appears to be oblivious (and yet is moving beautifully!) when you’re trying your hardest to work on your leg position, your contact or your seat.
Those horses you think are the most tolerant horses on the planet are often some of the happiest! There’s a reason they seem unbothered by their rider’s faults. It’s because however bad you think they look they’re relaxed. If you’re always up there fiddling and adjusting your position how can your horse possibly relax?
Trying too hard is a huge cause of tension in riders. Not only do you stiffen up as you focus on sitting up, holding a steady rein contact or looking straight ahead it also makes you constantly doubt yourself. If you’re always correcting yourself how can you relax and feel confident?
Nobody can relax to order but the main thing to do is stop trying! It’s great that you want to do your best – of course you want to help your horse – but next time you ride just ride! Go out for a hack and enjoy yourself or go in the school and trot or canter 20 20m circles on each rein without thinking about it – which means forget about your horse’s head position or yours! It’s harder than you think but you’ll feel a real difference in your horse by the end.
Schooling is about the partnership between you and your horse not about how much you can achieve in one session. It doesn’t have to be difficult. Take time out to really enjoy your riding and it won’t be long before he does the same. If he’s happy he’ll relax his back, his jaw and his quarters – isn’t that what you’ve been trying so hard to do all along?
Good luck and enjoy your schooling.