Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Lightening the Load

From the time we begin schooling dressage, there's this thing called "self carriage" that is preached almost as much as 'inside leg to outside rein'. I preach it to all of my clients, and we have long, tedious discussions about the proper connection for their horse's level of work. I was my horses to be light and through and all that good stuff that comes with proper self carriage.

Therefore, for the life of me, I can't figure out why I let my own horse lean on me as if his head has been somehow removed from his neck, and I am the last hope for him keeping everything held together in one piece.

Ok, so maybe that's being slightly dramatic, but really... why is it that we end up letting those everyday issues slide on the horses that we ride consistently? It's really not that hard to make P soft again. A good half halt from leg to seat to hand, and suddenly his head becomes re-attached to his neck and we can continue on with our working trot as if the slight dismemberment never happened.

I've also decided this also stems from a control issue. I have this idea that I need a heavy feel with him in order to feel and ward off those spooks, spins, glances, and sideways heaves he likes to throw into most perfectly good rides.

So my goal now is to go ahead and let myself feel a bit vulnerable on a lighter contact, and gosh-darn-it, I'm GOING to expect my own horse to have the same qualities that I demand of my clients and my horses in training.

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