Let me introduce you to Molly. Readers, Molly. Molly, readers.

Cute, huh? Well, let me tell you something about her, she’s speedy. As in Energizer Bunny fast. Actually, make that Mazda fast.


Zoom-zoom is the only gait I’ve ever seen her ridden in. Worse, her riders don’t seem to realize that each gait has different speeds. That’s right, speeds. Slow, medium and fast. I guess that makes them passengers and now I finally understand what my instructor meant by “She’s running away with you.” Huh, I need to ride the horse. Who thought?

My a-ha moment had me bursting at the seams and I was dying to share.
Eeny, meeny, miney, moe…

I decided to pick on Fran. She’s an old friend and just happened to be riding Molly. Perfect.

“Hey, Fran! Slow Molly down. She has different trot speeds.”
“Whaddya mean?”
“Molly can trot slower than that. I want you to slow your post down by sitting longer and rising slower.”

Uh-oh. I can see the questions marks appearing above her head.

“Like this?”
“Not quite but you’re close.”
“Can you show me? I learn much better when I have a visual.”
Don’t we all? The hard part is achieving what we see.

Entering demonstration mode.
We slowly walked around the arena. I asked Molly to relax, stretch down and step into the outside rein. (You noticed her Giraffe neck, right?) When I knew that I had her attention I asked her to trot. Lo and behold! She really does have different speeds. Oh and Molly interprets the lower leg to mean GO! No lower leg. Especially not a gripping lower leg.

Fran is stunned and amazed by my magic tricks.
“How’d you do that? Tell me what you’re doing as you’re doing it. I didn’t know she could do that!”

“OK, it’s your turn, Fran.”
“Can you tell me what to do?”
“Sure. I want you to ask Molly to trot and apply your half-halt. Meaning, I want you to pulse your inside leg against Molly. On, off. Then I want you to squeeze the outside rein and release it. Just like you’re squeezing water out of a sponge. Good! Pulse your leg on, off. Squeeze the sponge and release. Remember to slow your post. You’re calling the shots up there. Sit a little longer and rise slower.”
“I’m doing it! Give me more tips.”

See what a little taste of the minutia does? I’ve created a monster. Oh and when did I start channeling my instructor?