As we discussed in my previous blog post - 4 Tips to Help with Wild Winter Horses. Winter is here and your horse may be acting more sharp and spooky than the norm. We are taking a look at the more technical aspects of controlling your horse, who has found some new skills whilst he can’t play out in the mud.
The most important tip I can give you and the hardest one to achieve is to not let your brain and body freeze. Stay aware, create a solution before it escalates, don’t freeze at the problem. Keep your head in the game and believe in yourself. ☺️
Keep your legs wrapped around, they are your seatbelt. Do not take your leg off at any moment, pony club kicks if you have to but keep your horses legs moving underneath you, the more forward you are, the less time for activities.
Make sure you can feel the horses mouth in your hands, keep the contact in both reins, not pulling back but holding the contact, follow his mouth. If they want to look around snorting you are there flexing his neck and keeping him thinking about you, you can then feel what’s happening underneath you and down the rein.
Keep the flexion, preferably inside, get them wrapped around that inside leg as quick as possible. As they become more amenable you can swap between the inside and outside flexion and give them something to focus on.
If your horses acrobatic skills are getting rather advanced get your hands under that next strap, but with a contact so you can still converse with him down the rein and kick him into the contact. If you’re struggling with two hands under, just use one. Using the neck strap will stabilise your balance allow you to sink into those heels even more and get that weight down the back of your body, it will make sure you’re not pulling back excessively on the hand to balance yourself and should be the key to you staying on board and getting your horse moving forward whilst keeping your upper body back and your position stable.
Even if you’re not feeling up to riding, make sure you still spend time with your horse to build the bond you have with each other, your horse will appreciate the time spent giving them a good groom and it’ll stimulate yours and their blood circulation.
Ensure your horse has been out the stable for a stretch, even if it’s just for a walk around the yard, this will reduce their legs filling and if they get too used to 4 walls around them they’re bound to be super spooky when you ride and you can’t blame them.
Don’t beat yourself up about not riding them everyday, try to ride at least 3 times a week, on the other days you can lunge, groom or walk in hand.