I apologize for my absence but I’ve been away at Equestrian Charm School. Yes, you read that correctly. Charm school. It seems that riding a lazy horse, that’s behind my leg, has brought out the worst in me. I need to bring out my inner lady. (She’s around here somewhere.) The one that remembers to say “please” and “thank you.” A refresher course in good manners is in order. <Sigh>

The old me
In order to overcome my bad habit I must acknowledge it.

<Ahem>

Hello, my name is Lee, and I’m an impolite rider. You see it all started when I was riding a lazy horse and asked it to trot. I gave it a nice squeeze with my lower legs to no avail. Then a slightly stronger thunk…nada. Then a simultaneous kick and crack of the whip that resulted with my legs wrapped up around my ears. The horse shot forward only to be punished by the bit. <Sigh>

I admit it. I was unbalanced and used the reins to steady myself. (Hey, my legs were up around my ears remember?)

The same could be said about the transition into canter. <Cringe> I didn’t even bother to ask nicely. Straight into kick, legs wrapped around my ears, punishing bit. (Please don’t watch. This is embarrassing.) Something was wrong but I was in total denial. It’s the horse. It wasn’t me.

Yeah. Right.

The new nicer me
I’ve made a point of asking nicely. A light squeeze of my lower leg, pause. No reaction? Another light squeeze and simultaneous tickle of the whip. (He already knows I’ll use it.) Moving on out…quiet legs and hands…inside leg to outside rein…he’s coming down into my hands…so light…engaging his hind…rounding. “Good boy!”

Nice. We’ve both been rewarded. <Sigh>

Okay, now let’s try that canter. Half-halt…inside leg quietly at the girth…DO NOT MOVE…outside leg cues gently…slight forward give with reins. (I promise not to jab you in the mouth.) Moving on out…quiet legs and hands…inside leg to outside rein…he’s coming down!…rounding his back! Yeah! “Good boy!”

Looks like “please” and “thank you” do pay off. Excuse me but I’m off to practice more of my manners.

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