It’s been a rough couple of weeks. I’ve been ill and we had a H-U-G-E (please use the Paris Hilton inflection) layoff at work. My head is still spinning and I miss many of my co-workers and friends.

Back to my lessons I haven’t had a lesson in eons! My instructor was showing this weekend so I snuck onto another instuctor’s schedule. She has some knowledge of what I’m working on but it was a group lesson so I missed out on the individual attention I get in private lessons. She didn’t push me very hard either. I’m sure to get my butt kicked in the next lesson.

Releasing the inside rein We focused on my inside rein and riding more with my seat.  I really have a problem with this on circles. A good test to see if your horse is through is to give with the inside rein by moving it forward slightly or by petting the neck. If all your other aids are being applied properly you’ll notice that your horse will round through the topline and you’ve just rewarded him!

Remember the following:
1. Don’t throw away the connection. You want a light and steady connection.
2. Keep your elbows bent and near your hips.
3. Use your seat and inside leg to outside rein basics.
4. Half-halt
5. Breathe!

Practice Rides I’ve tried to apply all these things in my practice rides and below is what I saw.

1. If I gave with the inside rein she was more through and round.
2. When I brought my elbows back toward my hips she rounded more.
3. By using my inside leg to bend her and my outside leg to contain her haunches (not the inside rein) we made better circles. I stayed centered in the saddle and the whole twist and shout disappeared. OK not totally but that’s what practice is all about.
4. My half-halts when properly applied help keep her round and in the outside rein. I could also regulate her speed.
5. Breathing is good. I sometimes exaggerate it and give power inhale and exhales like a weight lifter. The amazing thing is that I see an immediate response from her. She rounds more and starts to breathe too!

Ride on and I’ll update you soon.