Today’s lesson was with Martini. This horse has an actual fan club. Everyone that rides him falls in love with him, and for good reason. He’s a school master.
For many years riding Alfie, I would throw away the contact. The contact is one of the ways you communicate with your horse. The reins are attached to the bit which is the piece that is in the horses mouth which is attached to the bridle which is what is on the head of the horse. You communicate with your seat as well as with your hands.
Throwing away the contact – picture a person sitting on a horse holding the reins in their hands. Then picture them moving their hands and arms forward towards the horses head, so the reins get loopy and loose. This is throwing away contact. By doing this, you’ve just broken your direct phone line to your horse. This is what I’ve been doing. Not all the time but it’s one of the hardest things for me to retrain myself not to do.
When you ride you need contact with your horse, but at the same time, you need to be able to give some of that contact up, not throw it away completely. By giving up some of the contact it allows the horse to move their head and get into a more proper form. When you give up the contact totally , they are no longer getting any signal from you so they stop moving, whether it’s a walk or a trot or a canter they stop. Today while we were trotting I was able to give up a little of that contact and guess what…Martini kept trotting!! It was a true lightbulb moment! All the little pieces finally came together for me.
Looking back at how much I didn’t know or understand, I remember thinking to myself, I’m never gonna get this riding thing. I’m not fit enough, skinny enough, rich enough to afford the top of the line tack and clothes. So many negatives. So many “excuses” that were floating in my head all the time. But to see myself now, a person who started riding at the age of 40, I’ve overcome so many fears. I’ve taken the time to learn at my own pace. And even though my lightbulb moments might seem small and insignificant to others, to me, these are huge accomplishments that need to be celebrated. If you find your audience, family and friends don’t care for your little accomplishments, it’s time to clean out your closet and surround yourself with people who will cheer you on always and who will care about EVERYTHING you accomplish, even if it’s small. ❤️🐴