The horse is horse hardwired to mirror its herd for safety. When you are riding, holding the rope or connected at liberty, you and your horse are a herd of two. Do in your body what you want the horse to do in his body. If you are braced, your horse will be braced. If you are relaxed, your horse will be relaxed. By using the PSNS/dancer muscles in our body, we trigger PSNS in ourselves and the horse.
‘Lunging’ circles using the life/energy in your belly button to send forward, pull belly button in for downward transitions and draw two eyes or closer, support upward transitions as needed with stick/whip
Using same belly button life/energy up and pull in/contract for downward transitions riding, use lateral flexion/one rein stop to support downward transitions, use motion in hands/arms/seat/legs to support upward transitions
Use rhythm of gaits in seat bones to cue gaits, even seatbones for walk, trot, stop, back; offset seatbones for canter. Load seatbone to draw horse for turns. Pull belly button back and up to back.
- Upward to Canter – offset feet, inside forward and outside back
- Downward Canter to Trot – outside heel forward (to even) and down, soften heel for release
- Downward Canter to Walk – outside heel forward (to even) and down, pump the inside heel down
- Downward Canter to Halt - outside heel forward (even) and down, inside heel down, hold until stop
Round for PSNS, relax, settle, calming, crunch belly button/TA. Arch to trigger SNS.
Spot up and far forward in distance to lengthen stride, increase pace. Spot between ears on ground to shorten stride, slow pace. Eyes on spot on fence next to you to really hold horse to the rail and slow. Eyes looking down at a spot will stop horse at that spot.
Horse’s foot will not step through a line created by the angle of the forearm coming out of the hand. Lift hands to encourage more elevation in front end. Reach hands forward to lengthen stride. Reach elbows forward and up to free elbows and shoulders of the horse. Tight elbows rider = tight elbows horse. Super low hands tend to put horse on forehand and curl neck. Horse will also not step through nose. Nose curled back limits forward stride.
Horse will not step hind foot through heel. Try pulling leg back and up, see how it causes hind legs to trail. Push legs way forward, toes up by shoulders, see how balance shifts back and really improves, note how much further under the horse the hind leg will swing.