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Re: Re: Riding Every Step

> I agree to a certain point, but perhaps have a more "Western" point of
> While I see this as a necessity for green or young horses, that don't yet
> have confidence, my goal with a well-trained trail horse is the total
> opposite.  I expect and want my horses to go relaxed and calmly on a loose
> rein-in what ever direction pointed in, in whatever gait I tell them.  I
> want to untimately ride with the reins dropped loose on their neck; be
> to neck rein so I can pony other horses, or use one or two hands to get a
> drink of water or eat, or carry something, etc.
> I expect the horses to develop a certain amount of trail sense, and be
> to make some intelligent decisions on where to put their feet; not spook,
> steady with traffic passing by, with no extra direction from me.  These
> MY goals.  If all my horses would have to be "ridden every step" in some
> sort of collection or frame,

First of all, I don't read into "being ridden every step" that the horse has
to be in any particular collection or "frame".  (In fact, I hate the word
"frame" because it relates to an external "picture" to which too many people
strive without actually having the horse utilizing his body properly.)  Even
on a loose rein, you have communication with your horse constantly through
your seat and legs, and on some subliminal level, you should be in tune 100%
of the time.  The horse telegraphs to you, and you telegraph to the horse.
I agree that this can be very subtle and with a well-trained horse should
not preclude you from doing other things.  But I agree with Tracy that you
still have to ride the horse all the time.  For those of us who started "out
in the world" instead of in an arena, I think we tend to take this level of
communication for granted and sometimes don't consciously delve into it.  It
was brought home full force to me when I continued to ride my good old
endurance horse after he became completely blind.  He and I have such a
complete communication that it is second nature to "talk" to him about the
trail and the footing with my own body.  And when I had to become his eyes,
I discovered that all I had to really do was turn up the intensity slightly
on a communication that already existed.  I had been riding him 100% of the
time, but with the volume turned down low, so to speak--and being his eyes,
we had to both "listen to the music" just a little closer--much in the same
way one does with a green horse.  With this low-level "riding every step"
one can pick up the intensity instantly if one has to--whereas if one is
totally out of touch with the horse, there is no time to do so when the
horse communicates urgent information.


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