Let me Introduce Myself
I got back into riding 2 years ago, after a 5+ year break, on a horse that is completely wrong for me. He was a 5 year old OTTB - he is now 7, almost 8 - and had no brakes and wasn't educated to turn properly, let alone anything else. We have come a long way now as I have persisted with him out of love.
His name is Jagger but I have started calling him "Hi-Ho Silver" because he has a scary habit of going straight up in the air, for seemingly no reason at all!
I stick with him because I know how great he CAN be, and how great we can be together. He is a great horse and loves to learn. I just need a bit of courage to get on him each day and get on with it. Sometimes I listen to music before I get on and that helps.
Last night I got on my horse - who I am a bit afraid of - and after getting to the arena with my mantras - deep breathing, heels down, I'm a good rider, and relax - I was having the usual trouble of my horse just running around underneath me. He always want to trot faster and when I let him trot, he wants to canter, faster and faster.
To try something different, I just completely relaxed. Instead of trying to look where I was going, keep my heels down, sit up straight and keep contact with the bit - I just tried to feel his responses underneath me, and use my seat, instead of my hands, to ask for him to settle down. Miracle - it worked! I just emptied my mind and focused on the one thing I was trying to achieve.
He's a sensitive horse, my boy. I've never needed to kick him to get him to go faster, or yank to get him to turn. In fact, when I try to get all proper and dominant, he get's upset and acts up. No wonder! Wouldn't you if someone was thumping around on your back, pulling on your mouth, and ignoring your efforts to get away from it?
A bit of a rant, I know. But hopefully it gives you something to think about.
Happy riding friends!