Monday, August 24, 2009

Maisie Gives Me a Job

Maisie and I had a lovely trail ride yesterday - it was cool - only in the 70s - and somewhat windy, which kept the bugs at bay. We went on a loop we haven't done for a while, and we had a very good time.

Maisie gave me a job on this ride. She would walk calmly and with a regular pace, and softly - no rushing - if I didn't use my reins to ask her to slow down or stop. So since I couldn't use my hands, I had to give very slight half-halts with my seat, to ask her to slow or stop. We marched along - I held the reins in both hands with a very light contact. She was walking along very well with a nice swing. Any time she started to think about picking up the pace, I asked her to slow with a very brief half-halt with my seat, keeping my reins and contact just the same. I would describe this as really not using an aid, but rather just taking advantage of the horse's natural tendency to slow when the motion is even slightly blocked. In effect, instead of letting my body move freely with the horse as she walked along, when I wanted to slow I would very slightly "resist" the naturally free movement of my body on top of the horse. This was enough to slightly block her motion, causing her to slow just slightly. I doubt that anyone watching would have been able to see anything at all, since I tried to do this as she was thinking about speeding up, rather than after she did, and I wasn't really moving my body at all to ask her to slow - just not moving my body as freely.

It worked like a charm - Maisie was very pleased with my progress! Now she says I need to refine it so its even more subtle and not so "loud" - I didn't think it was that big but she says I can make it much softer and she will still hear what I am saying.


  1. Hey Kate,
    I've been searching around your posts trying to find your responses to my comment questions, but haven't had any luck. Could you direct me?


  2. Lisa - Sorry! I left you a partial response in the comments to my August 18 post (after yours) and the August 20 post is about the "standing around" exercise I do. Hope that helps - if it was something else, let me know!

  3. I guess Maise is wanting you to move on to the "fly" level - only as much pressure as a fly.

    You'll get there. Then will you take me with you?


  4. Super! I like the comment that "Maisie was very pleased with my progress."

    I have to wonder sometimes how our horses do judge us as riders. After all, they already know how to do all the things we ask them to do, so it really is just our clumsy failure to communicate that stops us from getting them to do it. *lol*

  5. Sounds like you two had a wonderful ride, I'm so glad you were paying attention when she was teaching you, I'm sure she gave you and 'A+' for your learning abilities.

  6. I'll have to try that. It's funny, but I was thinking that my horse feels 'lighter' on the trail than in a ring. Maybe I have (and she has) more intention on the trail.

  7. wow "great riders think alike " :) I've been doing the same thing(s) with my horses.. Real awesome when you're really communicating

    happy trails

  8. Reading your posts are like having a little mini lesson for me!


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