This is just a quick thought. I get a lot of criticism about how I run my horse. Yes, I’m loud. Yes, my reins are long. Yes, we FLY into the arena. But this all works for us. Lynx is still running in the same Hack made by JD Bits that I bought in 2012. He was just starting to get a good feel in a run and I asked JD to make me a hack to allow me to stay out of his face but have whoa at the end of our run.
The reason for the long reins is because my horse could really do it all without me. I ride with my body, not my hands. I step out, keep my inside shoulder up, sit, and drop my outside rein. Sounds simple. It’s not. But I try to do my best to follow my own personal coaching! The run I posted is at Glen Rose, TX. We won the 2D with over 200 (possibly over 300, I can’t remember) runners. He won over $700 and a nice buckle with this run. But what I love about it is his snappy first barrel! I also remember stepping out, using my outside leg to finish my turn, sitting at the right stride, dropping my hand at the right moment and using my body. I LOOK UP not down at the barrel. These are things that I coach. This was a good run for us. Not our fastest in this pen but all in all, a good run! I can point out my flaws but that is not the point of this post.
Some folks think you have to be 100% in control of your horse in a run. Not true. Nope! You need to do that at home. Train your horse at home to be collected. Train him to work off leg. Train him to turn, move off his forehand, hip, bed at the ribs etc. if your horse is not fully broke, running barrels is not something you should attempt. I see a lot of horses that really need more home work. When we ride at home, we ride in a simple o-ring. We ride like a pleasure horse, actually. Yes we breeze but we really work hard at being responsive and BROKE. One thing that I really pound into all my students and all my horses is WHOA. When we say whoa, we sit first, say it, then apply pressure to the rein. As soon as all four legs stop moving, we go into reverse for 3-5 steps depending on how responsive the horse is to the initial cue. You would be shocked at how this helps in running your horse. I don’t care if we are just walking. If I say WHOA, I sit first, speak it, ask with reins then go into reverse. EVERY SINGLE TIME WE STOP. Even if it’s just a simple sound check (my phone dings and I check a message or something).
My point is simple. Ride your horse. Ride in a snaffle. If your horse is not responding at home to a snaffle, some leg cues and verbal cues… maybe you need to stop and go back to basics. These athletes need to be kept in shape. But they also need to stay broke and soft. In fact, I only use my hack in a run. Period. He knows if his hack is on, we are on.
I promise to go more into detail with this later but I thought I’d share this tip today!