Friday, May 28, 2021

Tips For Getting Back Into Riding Part 2


In part 1, I talked about why sometimes we get out of the habit of riding and need ways to easily get motivated again.  You can find the article link here. Part 1 focused more on tools and the process of getting ready to ride. Today I'm going to talk about other tips we can do with regards to actually riding or pre-riding.

So I'm working on my 2 yr. old filly to get her basic training done. I have my environment ready and now I want to work her.  The principle still holds that if I spend some time prepping and setting up the riding environment so that it makes it more enjoyable and easy to want to get back into riding or training and easier it is to get back into the saddle.  It's all mental preparation.

I do the same for my taxes. I don't particularly like doing my taxes so I do my books and leave the rest to my accountant. So I spend a day getting my office setup with my computer and my slips to do my books. I just find that it makes it easier for me to get it done. That and a big pot of coffee!

So that's it! To make whatever changes you need to do to make it exciting and enticing.  This article will focus on pre-riding specific tips.

Here are a few suggestions that you might find helpful. More detailed information on my website, if you're interested.

1. Sometimes I just don't feel 100%. Whether I'm too tired or a bit under the weather for whatever reason, I have found that if I do some GROUNDWORK exercises then I know that I've worked the horse and feel great about it. Here in this photo, I have saddled my 2 yr old filly and I've attached empty vinegar jugs to the side of the saddle. More DESENSITIZATION - one of my favorites! :)

It's also good for the horse to get 'back into the swing' of things as well.

2. I do use round penning and lounging as good exercises to teach horses many things. I teach all leg cues with the use of my stick-n-string, all voice cues, flexing... I have a list (see below). So I do spend time including when I need motivation to get back working my horse again by going through round penning and lounging. I also use them as a quick check to see where my horse is at. Here in this photo I show some lounging.

3. My training program has always been heavily based on reining principles and groundwork. I used to spend the first week with a customer's horse on groundwork to teach all the cues needed before I got onto the horse for the first time. I did that last year with my filly. Don't need to teach it again but it's still good to check everything before I get on. And get my mind into training again.

4. Here is some of what can be accomplished with groundwork.

  • establish mutual respect and trust between horse and human
  • establish communication between horse and rider
  • getting rewarded for a positive response
  • establishing good habits in your and your horse
  • teach the horse to pay attention to you as team leader (& establish you as team leader)
  • establish basic body control on the horse (lateral flexion, sidepassing, etc..)
  • familiarize/learn the step-by-step progressive process in training (ie. training scale) 
  • teach the horse to respect your space
  • determining temperament of the horse to customize training program
  • learn to read the horse's body language and visa versa
  • establish a mental connection with your horse
  • start to teach the horse to handle pressure in training
  • teach the horse to follow you (hooked on you)
  • establish & reinforce forward motion in the horse (which is so important)
  • teach the horse voice commands like the 'kiss', 'cluck', 'whoa', etc.
  • teach a horse to stop and backup using voice and rein cues
  • to create confidence in you and your horse
  • do a system's check to make sure everything is OK before mounting.
  • make sure your cinch is tight enough before mounting.
  • for the rider to really like being around their horse & visa versa!

I feel that groundwork has been invaluable in my training program and would ALWAYS recommend it - even for motivation. Next month, I'm going to continue with my filly's training and give more tips. 

Putting My Spin on Getting Back Into Training Mode


@KISS Reiners

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