Thursday, June 4, 2009


I'm a thinking rider, perhaps too much so. I knew buying Kate that I needed to school her, that she came with standard Kiwi schooling- basic wtc and jump. I knew she didn't understand how to move away from the leg, or take the contact down. I knew this. Still it's a little disappointing to be rigt back at the start again, walking circles, teaching Kate what I want. I have done this a lot now it seems. At least I am getting quicker so she wont take as long as say Fred did.

Anyway, as I was walking circles I was thinking, which I know isn't ideal but i find it really hard to stay focused. I have decided that, within reason, it's not how you ask so much as it is how you reward. A prompt appropriate release trains faster than anything else. Take Kate, who when I rode her today was far far quicker to offer me what I wanted, the stepping away from my inside leg, with a softening of the neck and jaw. Maybe she is special and super smart, but it was the same thing with Connie. The quicker I am to release and reward the behaviour I want the qucker they start to offer it consistently.

Kim was asking in nearly the exact same way I was but because she hasn't done the same amount of schooling, she hasn't mastered the timing of the release and so didn't progress like Kate did. Thats no slur on Kim, it's just something I have learned from the extra four years on the Earth I have had. She will get it no doubt, and then there will be no stopping her. Incidently, for my reward I simply release the inside rein, while keeping my contact on the outside rein and keeping her direction with my leg.


  1. wow - that's pretty unusual to start a horse cantering & jumping before they move away from the leg (in my experience anyway).

    oh well - at least it sounds like she's learning fast!

  2. You're right - if you can give a quick release, consistently, the horse will get it quickly and you can really accomplish anything. It's amazing to me how untrained most riding horses really are and how much more they can do if we give them the chance.