Eyes on the Ground

How appropriate that right after my last post (on choosing a clinician), I took a lesson. I hadn’t taken a lesson for months and I knew I had slipped into some bad habits. My husband can’t understand why I still need instruction; “after all,” he says, “don’t you know how to ride yet?”

In theory, of course, I do. I also pretty much know what I do wrong. I could easily print up some index cards with “Shorten your reins!” or “Don’t lean forward!” and just tape them in between my horses’ ears. It’s the subtle things that get away from me. It’s a co-dependency issue with my horses. They want me to loosen my reins, or ride slightly over to the left and over time it starts to feel natural.

It was a real shock to ride in a ring with mirrors and look at how I was letting my horse bulge through his right shoulder; not to mention he was evading leg yields to the right and not crossing over his back legs. I needed someone to remind me to stay quieter with my aids, to help me visualize my horse’s inside leg staying behind my shoulder, or giving me techniques on how to get my horse “unstuck” when he starts to suck back.

Time to type out a few more index cards, I think. Those eyes on the ground gave me new insights into what I need to fix tomorrow.

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