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Lesson I learned from a horse this week…

It’s been a very interesting, challenging and provocative week for me. I started out the week with getting bucked off a young horse during his first ride. Which, as it turned out, was a blessing in disguise as there was a really valuable lesson in it for me. I also feel it is important for me to share this lesson with you, so that you might get as much value from it as I did.

There where a couple things that I noticed in the preparation ground work and when I first rode him, that I should have paid more attention to. 

The first thing I noticed when I was ground working him was, that the only time he got a little bothered about the saddle was, when the stirrups swung back towards his flanks while in motion.

The second thing that I noticed was, that I hadn’t actually got him to the point of going forwards nicely of my legs. Instead I was still using quite a bit of energy with my legs and tapping with my rope to get him going forwards.

Considering that these were the only minor things that he had issues with and that he was really confident in every other way, I didn’t think much of it, until of course he launched into a series of bucks as I asked him to canter, which resulted in me eventually eating dust. As soon as I hit the ground, I knew exactly what I had done wrong and the two little things that I hadn’t given much thought to flashed in my mind.

I did some more detective work and realised that when I rode him next time, that if I brought my legs back towards his flanks on either side, he would shoot to the side and swing his hindquarters out and away. Then it became very evident, that when I had used both legs to ask him to canter, the only way out of it for him was to go up. The bucking was a result of him feeling trapped by my legs.

Once I realised this, I spent lots of time during the next 2 rides getting him to where he didn’t react to my legs going back towards his flanks. I also worked on getting to where, if I brought my leg back, he would softly yield his hind quarters across on both sides without fail from a walk and then a trot.

Then without any hesitation, I just asked him to canter and he did it without any bucking!

What was really interesting for me, was how those little things made all the difference. It’s amazing how often we don’t pay attention to the little things our horses do, until those little things turn into big problems!

I hope you have a good weekend! I’m off to teach Bridle-less Riding this weekend at Vakarra Park.




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