being fitting to the horse

I had a discussion with Stephanie yesterday about the learning curve with riding and training horses. Both of us have a background in english riding and jumping and we are both now riding more western. I like the finesse that comes with riding dressage but the sports I am doing now such as barrel racing and team sorting require me to think quickly and react..

My goal is to combine the finesse and workmanship by developing my vaquero style of riding. I have dreams of sitting on a perfectly trained bridle horse who responds to my slightest cue and works perfectly with me as a partner even when speed and quickness are needed. Well trust me I have a long way to go. For now I still have days when I get completely frustrated at my lack of skills and end up blaming my inadequateness on my horse and then have to apologize profusely for not being a “real trainer”.

So back to what Stephanie and I were discussing. With or english background we tend to default to that style when we are not thinking about our riding. This would be OK if we were riding horses that were trained that way but a horse trained western expects you to sit and cue differently. For instance, to do many of the reining maneuvers the horse needs you to sit more back on your pockets so he can feel your seat better and all rein aids are up never back. For both me and Stephanie this seat position feels awkward and uncomfortable but we see how fitting it is to the horse.

Being fitting to the horse is really the most important thing so we will both continue to adapt our riding style as needed and sometimes this means spending a lot of time on our own with no one watching because it can get pretty ugly:). Learning new habits and breaking old ones especially when you are trying to deal with a moving 1000 pound confused animal under you is challenging but sure worth the effort. Madalyn

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About Madalyn Ward, DVM

This blog provides information based on my unique take on horse health and well being. The articles are based on experience of treating and working with horses for over 40 years. In most cases the articles are focused on an holistic approach to health and management. When conventional medicine offers good research or therapy, I share this information as well. Madalyn Ward, DVM

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