Well, at least, that's what "they" say.

But we know differently, don't we?

We know how much time it takes to develop the balance and timing to move as a unit with the horse.

Photo Credit: NBanaszak Photography
Photo Credit: NBanaszak Photography

We know about the frustration and tears we expend when we work so hard to achieve something and still it does not arrive.

We know the pain we must go through - literally and figuratively - to develop enough "saddle time" to feel even the beginnings of unity and harmony with the horse.

It's like a picture.

HL Five Years
HL Bundle
HL Goal Setting
HL Book 3
HL Book 2
HL Book 1

Every time you watch a horse and rider, you are seeing where they are in their development as a partnership at that moment in time. Their strengths as well as their weaknesses are but a snapshot of their progress, a simple moment in time after where they have been and before where they are going.

The trick is to know that the picture they currently present is malleable and ever moving onward, like a flowing river. The challenges they have right now are going to drift away with practice and new ones will take their places.

The unlimited potential for learning and self-development is the never-ending call of horseback riding.

To those of you who insist that the rider does nothing

When you see the rider that looks like she is "doing nothing", please be aware that:

  • her timing is so well-developed that she is riding "in" the movement of the horse, intimately intertwined within his gait so as to dance into his rhythm.
  • she is incredibly fit and strong through her core muscles, as well as self-aware of the balance and positioning of every cell of her body from tip of the head to the toes, so that the horse's movements do not lurch her out of the saddle.
  • she knows when and how to allow the expression of the horse to come through and then capably rides along with him.
  • she has developed a level of communication with her horse so sophisticated that it rivals the best, most successful social media platform known in existence to humankind!
  • she has more dedication and self-discipline than many who are watching her

In fact, us horseback riders are always in the hunt for looking like we are doing nothing at all! Because we know that an effortless, free-flowing, lighter-than-air ride truly is what we're aiming for...

...and we do not really mind if those onlookers think we are just being passengers on a magnificent animal who is willing to share his talents with us!

Finally! The Ultimate Rider-Centered Program!

Ready for something completely different? If you liked what you read here, you might be interested in the new Horse Listening Practice Sessions. 

This is NOT a program where you watch other people's riding lessons. Start working with your horse from Day 1.

Click here to read more and to join one of the most complete programs on the Internet!

horse logos 1

Don’t miss a single issue of Horse Listening! If you like what you are reading, become a subscriber and receive updates when new Horse Listening articles are published!  Your email address will not be used on any other distribution list. Subscribe to Horse Listening by Email

Buy the book for many more riding tips! Horse Listening – The Book: Stepping Forward to Effective Riding

Avail able as an eBook or paperback.

3D book 2


Keep reading for more fun articles!

A Song and My Very Own Chestnut Mare: Debunking the chestnut mare myth! (and my friend's song)

An Ode to Kayla Queen - As She Turns 30: Celebrating my mare's 30th birthday!

Because of Horses: What horses teach us.

Starting to Breathe Again: My personal take on Hickstead's last International win, written before he passed. In memory.


  1. Spending time developing a great relationship with your horse is like being paid for improving your mental and physical health, reducing your stress, while having fun like a 12 year old kid. The more time you devote to your horse, the better your relationship, the closer the bond and you end up with a well behaved horse who loves being with you. When I go to the field for my horse, he doesn’t wait for the halter. as soon as he sees me, he runs to the gate and stands there waiting for me. it is as if he is saying, “hurry, i can’t wait!”

  2. Thanks to horseback riding, I have worked to develop myself and be able to dance with my horse. I have learned that if I do not continually work to let go of what I bring to the dance, and just be in the present moment, I will not achieve the harmony necessary to be a true partner to my horse. I have always said that my horse makes me want to be a better human.

  3. Do you have any links to videos that you show the rider movements (or lack of) you are talking about.