I don’t own a horse so last night I pretended to own Calvin. He’s a bouncy chestnut TB in our school program. While Calvin finished dinner I groomed and tacked him. Then we entered the indoor and I mounted for my practice ride.

Oh, did I happen to mention that he’s a bit lazy?

I spent the next half hour practice riding a hollow backed horse that was against the hand. His head was in one town and his tail was in another. I’d push him forward in the trot and he’d come down for a moment and pop right back up. It felt as though each leg was paddling in an entirely different direction. I was being bounced all over the place. Steady hands? Yeah, right. I could visualize hands on the shelf or acting as book ends until the cows came home. It wasn’t happening.

Maybe I’m too sensitive about my riding skills but I was on the verge of crying. I just couldn’t pull him together.

Then, I got mad at myself and put on my assertive riding face.

I growled, further engaged my core and really starting asking Calvin to go forward. My leg aid was backed up with my dressage whip so he had to pay attention. I could hear my instructor whispering in my ear “Get the forward. Then ride the poll down.”


Calvin’s hind end engaged. He rounded and came down into my hand. I was connected on both sides and we even maintained it through a change of rein!


I rewarded him with pats on the neck. We cooled out in free walk on a long rein. Calvin stretched down into it in appreciation.

Homework: Practice shortening my reins to take up the slack as the horse becomes even rounder.