Don’t DO It…LET It

Dorrie as a foal

Dorrie as a foal

My red mare, Dorrie, otherwise known as “The Correcto-meter,” schooled me today in some fundamental principles of riding. This is why she is known as the Correcto-meter, because she, unlike my easy-going gelding, Paddy, will not cooperate unless you are sitting and asking correctly. Paddy, on the other hand, has accommodated my imbalances and fooled me into thinking I was a competent rider. Likewise, he is a master at a subtle push against my leg or dropping my hip to the left to make him more comfortable. And he happily goes along being crooked…not so with Dorrie. My trainer has told me countless times to assist the horse to become straight, then LET the trot develop; in other words, you can’t MAKE it happen. I understood in my mind but my body still had not gotten the memo. Today, when Dorrie rolled up into trot I got the sucking back, ears pinned, neck raised reaction which only made me want to shove with my seat more, nag with my leg, and pinch. Doesn’t work! To the casual observer, it does not look like I’m doing all these dastardly things to her, but on a very sub-atomic level I certainly am, and she feels it. After a 20 meter circle of fighting and restricting the horse with my body, I opened my knee and thigh, relaxed my hip angle to sit back and down, and viola! Her head and neck reached forward, she moved her shoulders freely, and she went smartly forward into a free-flowing trot with self-carriage. I was there to adjust and assist with straightness, not trying to do it all for her. Riding is hard for we “over-achievers” who want to DO IT RIGHT all the time to the detriment of being able to back off and “LET” it happen. It’s tough. Riding a such a demanding discipline– physically, sure– but more so mentally. Just remember, LET your horses (for those of you who do not own your own “Correcto-meter.”)


About lrtrovi

I am a writer in Howard County, Maryland who spends free time practicing the art of dressage on my horses, haunting the local bookstores and libraries for the next great read, and working on my own novels.
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