Friday, August 15, 2014

Riding Back to Front

Riding front to back.
 The concept of riding "back to front" is such a lost art that I find many people are taught "non-traditionally" in the sense that getting a horse to arch his neck and look presentable is achieved using force (ie. hands). The essence of getting a horse to carry itself and be "on the bit" gets lost in translation so much that even I succumbed to the "make your horse look pretty!!!" group that always seems prevalent in the horse industry.

My first riding lesson with M was a huge wake up call to me, and a painful observation that I rely on my reins far too much. M had me walk and trot around the arena with zero rein contact and the purpose of the exercise was for me to control both Tally's speed and steering. Suffice to say, I failed miserably. But, it was a very humble experience.

Seat and legs must always come before the hands. Always. A horse and rider who are reliant on the reins will make a fickle pair indeed.

The lessons have come ever so timely, and on Wednesday when I pulled Tally out and went for a ride in the 25C heat, I found that "happy place". I had her between my legs and every movement was so effortless, so purposeful. The reins were just.... there, and I had no reason to use them. Every stride was controlled by my posting and every turn was brought on by my legs. It was weird, looking down at my hands and going, "Hmmm... these haven't moved in a while."

Light aids make a happy horse.

The canter has improved tenfold and instead of me leaning and gripping into it, I am sitting up tall and sitting deeper into my seatbone and ask with more purpose and in return, I receive such a lofty, quiet canter in return.

Towards the end of our school, I found Tally became rushy, bracy and a bit on the forehand. I did work her out of it, but she kept slipping back into that "brace and rush" mode. I do attribute it to the fact that it was as hot as hell and she was dog tired (just dripping sweat!!). We did have a lovely school and I was very, very pleased with the results.

Only five more days until the Fall Fair show! I know we aren't 100% yet, but I have no qualms that we will have safe and respectable rounds.

My schedule looks like this:

Friday (tonight): Work and Flat ride.
Saturday: Work and Jump ride.
Sunday: Off
Monday: Work and Flat ride.
Tuesday: Work and trailer Tally to Danielle's house. Danielle is hauling Tally (she owns her) as well as her other horse she will be competing on since SO and I will be bringing the Human Trailer with us.
Wednesday: Work and trailer 3hrs to the Fall Fair. Hope to arrive around 7PM and get Tally settled in, etc.
Thursday: Dressage
Friday: English Flat
Saturday: Hunter O/F Classes.
Sunday: Pack up and go home!

Whew. This week is going to go by in a blur, let's hope I stay on and maybe get one ribbon!


  1. Sounds like your lessons are really good :)

    1. They are!! Two years without lessons was just too long!

  2. So true! I'm glad you had a good lesson and good luck at the fair!