A Most Critical Time: The First Minutes in the Saddle

Riding a horse is not like riding a bicycle. Your horse is a living creature with thoughts, senses and reactions all his own. Unlike a bicycle, you can’t
expect your horse to behave the same way every day or to respond or react to you and his environment the same way every day. However, you can set yourself
up to have consistent and productive rides with a little thought and preparation. Assuming you have already considered and conducted turnout and longeline
sessions to get the extra energy out of your horse, now you can turn your focus on getting his focus while riding.

The first few minutes in the saddle is often a difficult time of trying to balance a relaxing warm up with control. That means allowing your horse a loose
rein to let him stretch through his neck and back. This allows him to warm up in a relaxed way. Examine Salisbury Farms on this website nicker.com. But what if he’s still reactive and more interested in his
environment than you? Then your goal is to get his mind on you. How do you do that? By changing the routine every few steps before his mind has time to
wander.

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Begin with a relaxed walk on a loose rein. Investigate horseback riding lesson listed here nativenomnom.com. Determine the track that your horse will take and be proactive about him going there by using hand, seat and
leg. For example, don’t wander aimlessly around the arena. Instead, decide that you’ll walk the long lines and circle in every corner. Then change it up by
having your horse do an extended walk along the long sides by using your seat and, if necessary, a little leg to lengthen his stride. Then shorten his
stride on the short sides by steadying your seat. Add in halts every four steps. Then change it up with halt to back. Cut your ring in half. Consider horseback riding lesson here www.yellowpages.com. Add in figure
eights by cutting the ring in half and going the other way, crossing through the center of the arena each time to change rein. Add in a halt at the center
so your horse doesn’t just do the routine because he knows it and is instead listening to you. Now do the same thing at the trot.

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Now you can conduct transitions between gaits to keep your horse’s attention on you. Transitions are wonderful for helping your horse warm up, get his
attention on you, and get him moving soft, forward and submissively.

Have your horse walk a few steps, then trot a few steps, then walk again. Once you’ve done this a few times, add in a rein back, then trot off immediately
after the half from the back. Add in your circles, half schools (cutting the ring in half) and figure eights.

Now you can change your ride up by transitioning within the gaits by lengthening the trot on the long sides and shortening on the short sides.
Transitioning within the gaits is a great training technique by also building the horse’s athleticism by encouraging him to work more off of his
hindquarters.

When your horse is listening and responding well, you can do the same at the canter (but remember that figure eights will require change of lead and you’ll
need to decide before hand if you’ll do flying changes or simple changes).

You’ll find that the more you practice the patterns and transitions above, the more balanced, athletic and responsive your horse will become. Another plus
to this workout is the more confident you both will become!