Be A Bet­ter Rider

Top Er­rors To Avoid

Horse & Rider - - Front Page - By Craig John­son, With Abi­gail Boatwright Pho­tos by Abi­gail Boatwright

D UR­ING MY TIME IN THE HORSE IN­DUS­TRY, I’ve seen rid­ers strug­gle with a va­ri­ety of is­sues while work­ing with their horses. Some are due to prob­lems in the horse, but oth­ers are pi­lot er­ror. It can be frus­trat­ing for rid­ers to work hard to achieve their goals and run up against walls over and over.

I’m go­ing to talk about six mis­takes I see rid­ers make as they work with their horses. It hap­pens at all lev­els, with horses in many dis­ci­plines. I’ve even been guilty of some such mis­takes my­self. I’ve seen the neg­a­tive re­sults, so I want to show you why cer­tain habits aren’t help­ful. I’ll share sug­ges­tions of how you can break these habits and re­place them with pro­duc­tive rou­tines that’ll help you and your horse progress with your ob­jec­tives.

Not Enough Ground­work

Te No. 1 mis­take I see is lack of ad­e­quate ground­work. At the be­gin­ning of work­ing with a horse, when the horse and rider are still learn­ing to­gether, it seems as though rid­ers will do some ground­work and some ground ex­er­cises. But once they start rid­ing more, they tend to get away from that part of train­ing.

I do some form of ground­work daily be­fore I ride. De­pend­ing on the day or the horse, it could last just fve min­utes or be 15 min­utes on the ground be­fore I ever step into the sad­dle. I run through a check­list that gets rid of the horse’s ex­cess en­ergy and gives me the tools I’m go­ing to need be­fore I get on him.

For in­stance, I’ll put the bri­dle on and hold onto the end of the reins, push­ing him about 3 feet out away from me. I’ll work on get­ting his face sof, and on get­ting the body work­ing right and yield­ing to pres­sure. I’ll use my hand or a train­ing stick to aid in body yield­ing. I want to get the horse sofened up, turn­ing, and back­ing up with­out re­sis­tance.

By do­ing so, I don’t have to go through what seems to be a com­mon thing for some rid­ers: a re­ally bad frst 15 or 20 min­utes of rid­ing be­fore the horse starts work­ing de­cently. Horses can get into a bad habit of just be­ing kind of silly and not be­ing fo­cused when you f rst get on. You can elim­i­nate that pos­si­bil­ity with daily pre-ride ground­work.

Too Much Lee­way

An­other fre­quent rider er­ror, es­pe­cially in the be­gin­ning stages of train­ing, is that of giv­ing the

Quar­ter Horse mare Huntin For A Color

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