Photo Credit: J. Boesveld

... and another thing to know what it is, how it feels, how to do it, and how to fix it.

I mean, it's so easy to sit there and watch clinic riders, or riding students, and say, "Yes, yes, the horse looks so much freer now that she's got him going forward."

"It's a no brainer, really, that all she needed to do was to give him a little more room in the front end."

And so on!

We've all done it, and honestly, there is some need to developing your eye, knowing what you're looking at, and identifying the problems. Understanding what you're looking for is a critical step to developing your riding knowledge. Some of us become experts at "seeing".

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But - as in all things, but especially because it's riding HORSES - it's one thing to know, and another thing to doBecause as easy as it looks sometimes, and as often as people say, "oh yeah, the horse is doing all the work," all you have to do is get on the horse even for the first time, and realize that it's not all about smelling the roses and looking grand.

But for those of us who go on to the second time, the hundredth time, and the 25th year - we wouldn't have it any other way!

By then, while we might have a developed really good eye, we also have learned to recognize the hard work and dedication it takes to make small improvements, literally one step at a time, sometimes two steps forward and three steps back. We have insight about how hard the ground can get, how difficult it can be to sit through a romp, and how terrifying a runaway horse (or pony!) can be. 

We understand fully about how it takes a village to make progress, how support is critical and education is necessary. 

We become realistic about our own strengths and weaknesses, our horse's talents, and how dedicated we must be to pursue our training dreams and goals. 

And then, we begin to really know.

When we watch the riders in the clinic, or in the riding lessons, we have a much better understanding of everything that went into just getting there. We know how that ride is just one moment in the overall picture. Mistakes can be made, and mistakes can be fixed. We recognize that a little change can make a huge impact on the horse - and that the horse will always be the best guide.

Then, we think, "Wow look at how that rider was able to translate what the clinician said, so that she could allow the horse to move freely."

"She clearly held her balance enough to give the reins enough to allow the horse more room in the front end."

The more we do, the more we know. 

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!

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Now is the time to re-evaluate your goals and path to riding success!

Goal Setting For The Equestrian
Click on image to learn more.

If you’d like a structured, but personal tool to set goals, take a look our Goal Setting for the Equestrian: A Personal Workbook. The pages are designed for you to set and keep track of your progress over the course of a year.

Included in the book:

  • design your overarching goals
  • long- and short-term planning,
  • debrief your special events such as clinics or shows
  • reflect on, plan and evaluate your goals
  • sample goals and pages

The Workbook is available for instant digital download so you can print the pages right off your computer. There is also the option of a paperback version if you’d rather have a professionally bound book to hold in your hands. Click here for more information.

Read more here:

The Truth About Perfect Practice and the HL Rider Learning Cycle

14 Reasons to Love Horseback Riding

Breaking the Cycle: It Might Not Be What You DID Do…

23 Ways to Solve the Riding Problem

Too Good To Be True? Finding Your Horse’s “Happy Place”