One of the most important elements to riding is forward motion.
Can't have athleticism without it.
Can't go anywhere either.. Ha! :)
So I spend a lot of time working on getting the horse to go forward. And for a horse just learning to carry and balance a rider, it can be a challenge sometimes. (Horses starting out will typically want to become frozen to the ground and not move).
Here in the photos, I have flexed Mocha left and right after mounting, so now I am ready to work on her forward motion. Before I use my Cruise Control exercise to teach consistency and stamina, I like to teach a horse their upward and downward transitions.
ie: Downward Transition = Flex to Slow Down at the walk, jog, trot and lope.
It's a good safety feature. I'll explain ...
Riders can be assured that should the horse lurch forward or rush forward, the rider can flex the horse to a stop or slow down immediately and the horse will easily comply. Gotta love it! (The horse will already know how to do it from ALL the groundwork that was done previously!)
Most young horses just learning to carry a rider and learning to go forward need to balance themselves as they increase and decrease speed as requested. It can be rough or kludgy at first.
Mocha was no exception. She would kinda jump or hop into the higher speed. That's to be expected. You can expect that with your young horse too. Mocha will smooth out with time and experience. And so will yours! (This of course can be worked on in the round pen via groundwork first).
This is where the Flex To Slow Down really works! I'm so glad I know it!
A lot of times, inexperienced horses will get uncomfortable and start to scare themselves. Mocha would start to trot and then 1/2 a circle later she would start to speed up and then speed up a little bit more and then speed up some more. She would start to spook herself or just become uncomfortable or unsure.
All I had to do was flex Mocha to slow back down again and she instantly slowed down and relaxed. That's the beauty of it! The horse slows down and relaxes and the rider relaxes and the horse stops rushing.
I can't think of a better safety feature! A win-win situation.
After a bit of practise, Mocha doesn't rush so much any more. She just moves up into the jog, trot or lope and if she goes a little too fast, I just flex her to slow down.
If she were to really get scared, I could simply just flex her to stop and start again.
Beauty! Of course, I do this with ALL my other horses as well. Try it! Let me know how it goes!
Stay tuned and I will write more about Mocha and teach her the Cruise Control exercise and guiding.
Questions and comments are always welcome.
Info on Mocha can be obtained here.
Upward and onward! (Transitions ... that is.... :)
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