Contact information:

Discipline: LD/Endurance, CMO, Trail Rider, Cartoonist, Writer, Co-Director/ Green Bean Endurance

April 9, 2012

A Big Thank You to Mel from Boots & Saddles

Sometimes it is the small things.  The slightest change that suddenly unlocks an untapped potential.  A while back she wrote about bucking and choking up on the rein.  A mental picture clicked in for me at that moment.  Journey had run away with me in the FALL.  I got her stopped that day, but the incident had lingered with me.  There was a fear of her doing this again, so I was hesitant to "let" that happen again.   A lot of work has gone into Journey since then vs. now.  I rationalized how the pattern had emerged, generally when Journey was attempting to break gait on her own to canter, and I'd draw up on the reins...."no, we trot."  Then she'd get ticked off and want to buck.  It was the holding back that was bringing that out in her.  I ask for canter now, holding enough on the rein that she cannot drop her head to buck, but CAN lift up, stretch out, and change gears.  It has been amazing!   The last time we worked on this over the past week she was really reaching and I instinctively thought...ummm...she's going pretty fast....but I just relaxed into it and let her stretch, and know what?  She dug in for a half dozen strides then settled into a softer pace.  It was as if she were testing the waters to see if I would haul back on those reins.

This is why I value these endurance/horsey blogs.   Yes, I might read for a year and find nothing pertinent to my needs (though highly entertaining), but now and then you hit upon a kernel of truth that shoves the door wide open to the next step.  For this I am thankful.  As I am thankful for those who read my blog and interact in positive non-judgmental ways.  Our purpose is to help one another, and to help our horses, yes?

Thanks Mel!



  1. Ah! so glad something clicked for you!!!!!! It's a huge trust moment - and it took me a LOT longer to figure out with Farley than it took for you to figure it out with Journey :) - for me to let go in the canter for just a moment and trust her so she can trust me. I think a lot of times we as riders try to micro manage the horses to a degree that is detrimental - it's a fine balance between making sure that the horse and rider is riding the appropriate "ride", and realizing that the horse isn't a robot machine that is necessarily not going to have an opinion, and chosing the place and time for letting them express that opinion. I'm not sure this applies to other disciplines beyond endurance (and mares!), but I've found that the ability of an endurance horse to make decisions, trust their rider (and vice versa) and letting them have opinions (as appropriate) is one of the most important things to balance.

  2. It wasn't big, it was huge. I'd gotten all clamped up inside after she'd tried to unload me THREE TIMES, then we got into this cycle. I've about decided even if she bolts (she hasn't) to either one rein her and shut her down, or just ride it out, no hanging on her face anymore. It was very helpful in that I sort of leaned back in my chair and visualized what she was doing, and my response (Farley's response) and it just all kind of came together. So far so good! Appreciate it.

  3. It kind of reminds me about my revelation that I need to do ALL half halts/"corrections" within the rhythm. I rode on Friday and Farley was a bit hot - just the sort of situation where she starts to buck when I ask her to transition down. I started to go into my bad habits of bracing while pulling on her mouth and then remembered that huge blog post I did on rhythm from the last time I rode her and took a deep breath, started to count outloud and THEN started to ask for a slower speed within the rhythm and VOILA! no more bucking. I think the other benefit of blogging is that we REMEMBER our revlations. There's no way I would have remembered the whole rhythm thing except that I wrote a whole post on it. :).