The Key?

Keeping on with my flat work lesson a week plan, I had another lesson!

It was one of those lessons were I just couldn't get anything right. My coach would tell me something, and I would think I was doing it and then I would get yelled at for not doing it! It was all kinds of awful, I was tired (work has been killer lately!) and I felt like everything was wrong.
Note the head tilt giving our straightness away

It's been a very long time since I have felt that way and it was tough. I nearly cried but I just told myself over and over that it would get better. After struggling to do ANYTHING, Bec hopped on to feel what I was feeling. Basically I have been pulling back when I ask for the turn and being far too inconsistent with holding the contact, allowing Henry to do what ever he likes.

It was very interesting to see someone else ride my horse. I've been his only rider in the last 2 years other than about 10 minutes when Jonna hopped on him to work through something. He's growing up well! Still downhill though and still a long way to go but he is getting there!
Straight and forward!

II hopped back on Bec had me work through what she had been doing, really holding the outside rein and using the inside rein for flexion keeping him straight when he fell in or out on the circle. I just could not do it. My right hand in particular was waving all over the shop with a mind of it's fucking own. I was clearly missing the key. So I asked "what do you mean by contact?". Now, I've been riding since I was 6, owned my own horses for the last 8 years, taken countless lessons in that time. You would think i knew what everyone was rabbiting on about when they say contact.

I did not.

Turns out when I give, I throw EVERYTHING away. I release too much, and by trying so hard to do the right thing, I am doing the wrong thing and confusing the crap out of my horses. Bec broke it right down for me, and had me feel what she meant by demonstrating on my hand. Finally, after all these years I really get it.
Much bigger trot when I get it right

So off we went and you know what? Everything just happened. My horse flexed, my horse was forward, my horse was straight and into the contact. He had somewhere to go and steady hands that weren't all or nothing to work into. Kiddo was so much happier and I could just sit there and be straight in my body. It was all so easy. Something clicked and I got a really good feel for how it should all work. I could feel so much better too, when Henry was straight, when he wasn't and when get slowed down. And to fix it, was a light application of indirect rein to move his shoulders.
My face when my horse magically moves his shoulders

So it turns out that sometimes you just have to ask a question about something really basic. I hope this feeling sticks because I feel like it's the key that's been missing in my riding. Maybe now stuff will come together a bit more now and we can progress faster!


  1. coming from hunter land where i basically just floated the reins forward all the time, contact has been such an enigma to me haha, and i still want to leave wayyyyy too much slack in my reins. riding is hard, yo! yay for getting that breakthrough feeling tho -- hopefully at least knowing what it felt like makes it easier to find next time?? at least that's what i'm always hoping LOL

    1. Thats exactly what I was hoping for. Still a struggle but now I know what to feel for, it was much easier!

  2. YAAASSSSS! Contact is so hard for me also- I do the same thing and want to give this huge release to reward and the horse is like, "Uhhh, where'd ya go?" I had that same moment with the half-halt. I've been riding since I was a kid and I finally asked my trainer how in the world to properly half-halt. I thought I'd been doing it, nut hard nope. You guys got this and those last pictures look so good!

    1. We hear these things all the time but sometimes they are just never really explained! It's so tricky, and you don't even realise the question needs to be asked until it's asked.


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