Episode 123: Help! I’m constantly in my horses mouth too much…

Many riders struggle to find more subtle cue systems and feel like they are constantly in the horses mouth…overusing the rein cues. Learning how to ride with an independent seat can be a challenge. In this episode, I answer a listener question and explain how I approach this issue. I also explain where and how this ‘wobble’ appears naturally during a horses training or a riders development.
How can I use other aids outside of the reins?


Stacy Westfall: Hi, I’m Stacy Westfall, and I’m here to teach you how to understand, enjoy, and successfully train your own horses. Today, I’m answering a listener question that sounds like it’s all about the riders body, but I don’t think that’s the whole story. Let’s go ahead and listen to the question and then unpack my answer.

Caller: Hi, Stacy, my name is Reece in California. Thank you so much for this podcast and for all the goodness that you put into the world for riders and horses. I started riding relatively later in life. I am thirty-seven years old and I just started riding this year. I’ve had a lifelong dream of owning a horse and now that we’re finally in the financial position to do that, I’ve been taking three-times-a-week riding and horse ownership lessons. The problem that I’m having is that as an older rider, I’m finding it more challenging than I expected to get my body to cooperate with what I’m asking it to do. And in no area is this more apparent than in my use of the reins. I have a really bad habit of constantly being in the horse’s mouth, and despite consistent feedback from my instructor on how to use my feet and my seat to manage the speed and direction of the horse, I still find myself relying heavily or even exclusively on the reins in any gate that’s faster than a walk. I’ve been able to use my legs to control the direction of the horse in a walk, but at any speed, even a jog, I find that I can’t get my legs and my seat to do what I ask them to do. I guess it’s because of the balance of the horse, I’m not really sure. So I’m wondering if you have any exercises, ideas, advice that I could try to rely on other aides besides the reins, so that I can get out of this poor horse’s mouth. Thank you so much, Stacy.

Stacy Westfall: Thanks for your question, Reese. I think that this is an interesting topic because I believe that it actually shows up in all four areas of the four square model. I believe that this has roots in the rider’s body for sure. That one’s kind of obvious. The rider’s mind, the horse’s body, and the horse’s mind. I’m going to go through these kind of a little bit on the surface, quickly, and then dive in a little bit deeper. The way that I see this affecting the rider’s body is a little bit more on the obvious side. It’s a lot of the things that you mentioned. First of all, you’re learning something new. It’s coordination, it’s understanding, so that kind of creeps over into the the rider’s mind. It’s a lot of muscle memory. So if you go back and you listen to Episode 5, then what you’re going to find is that a lot of this dance are these levels of competency where you’re, you know, you’re unconsciously incompetent and then you become consciously competent, and I mean consciously incompetent, actually. Then consciously competent and then unconsciously competent. And I unpack that really clearly in Episode 5 but that’s basically saying that when I listen to your question, it sounds like you’re probably on that second rung. So unconsciously incompetent is mean–basically means you don’t know what you don’t know. And the next rung up from that is consciously incompetent and you’re like aware that you don’t know something. So that’s a really interesting and sometimes uncomfortable place to be. What you’ll also feel, I’m sure of it, because of the way that you phrase the question, is that you have moments, especially for you right now at the walk, where you’re consciously competent. So you’re able to focus and be competent there. And so I actually think you’ve got kind of a dance going on between this level of–there’s a level of understanding, but there’s also a muscle memory. So what happens when you go faster, even if you think about it as driving a car. When I was teaching my sons how to drive a car, it was very clear that they understood the concept of stepping on the gas, stepping on the brake, and steering the car. And it worked really well at 5 and 10 miles an hour. But you move that up to 30 and 40 miles an hour and as the passenger, you’re gripping the seat. And what were they doing? They were really kind of hunched. They were super focused. And you know what their bodies were? Tense. And if you’ve been driving a car for a while now, you know, this actually works better if you’re breathing, relaxed, and looking around. But there is a reality to the stages of learning and that overlapping with these competency levels and realizing that some of that is real. But don’t worry, we’re going to unpack it more. Let me keep myself on track for this overview.

Stacy Westfall: So I want it–I want to say that this also hits on the horse’s mind. And I’m going to really cover that near the end of the podcast even more. And then this is a big one: Some horses are easier. The horse’s body, just from a flat mechanical state,sSome horses are easier to sit at the trot and canter than they are–you know, than others are. So the walk has no suspension, so it’s not a bouncy gate. So I think you’re on track with like that bounce kind of probably moving you around. And then the interesting thing is that an uncollected horse’s body is harder to sit. So when you don’t know how to do it and/or if the horse is, you know, not naturally wanting to collect itself or not collecting because you’re not asking, that actually makes the bounce even worse when you’re learning it, because you’re not able to help the horse. And then some horses just have that bouncier trot and canter if they don’t–if they haven’t learned how to really control themselves. So some are naturally easier and all can be influenced to move better, but then that requires more from you. So that’s a quick overview of how I can see it touching, but I’m going to go deeper into how I see it touching even more of the different quadrants. So when I’m thinking about answering this question right now, it’s kind of front-of-mind for me right now because I’ve been exploring this myself this week when I have been working on more advanced neck reining with Gabby and Willow. Another thing that’s been really helpful to bring that awareness into my body is that I’ve been also trail riding. And since this is the beginning of the trail riding season, I’m a little sore from trail riding. So my muscles are slightly sore from trail riding, which is fascinating considering that I’ve been riding all winter, but it’s been in the indoor arena. So I’ve got a different level of muscle awareness right now because of soreness. So when I’m out here also coming back into the arena on the rainy days or on the days that I know that the horses just need a little bit more recovery, and I come back in and I’m working on the more advanced neck reining with Gabby and Willow, what I notice is that when I start to move from let’s just call it like a dressage frame riding two handed, because I’ve been doing a lot of Western dressage and dressage with these horses. So when I move from the contact on both reins, working on more advanced movements, when I move that to neck reining, it is fascinating for me to have the awareness of a couple different things. Number 1, when I put that horse on that longer, looser rein…First of all, just a quick tip. I don’t just put them on that long loose rein, and then hope it works. I’ve got really great hand transitions that I do. And so I show that and I teach that in my steering course. But just in your mind, I want you to think that when I say that they’re on a loose rein, I’m actually on a loose rein but I’m doing a lot of transitions. Back to contact, back to loose, back to contact, back to loose. So just as you’re trying to picture this. So when I’m working on this more advanced neck reining with Gabby and Willow, it’s really interesting because as I turn that horse loose on that, what most people would call a lighter contact, because there’s–there’s a drape in the rein, there’s looseness in the rein, and I’m neck reining, so the horses are are supposed to be steering away from a suggestion. What is really fascinating is that it feels wobbly and I can feel the wobble in me and in the horses. And the wobble I’m describing right now is actually coming from a question in my mind and a question in Gabby’s mind of trust. And that wobble for me is when I have her on that looser rein, I have to make some decisions about when and how I’m going to help her. Or I could say correct her. But it’s not a punishment. It’s more of a help and a shape and a direct and then turn loose again. So when that–when I am riding around and I’m riding the four leaf clover pattern and I’ve got her on the loose rein, and I suggest, I rub that rein, I move my hand, I ask her to steer, and there’s a little bit in my body, but I’m really actually focusing on making it come from the neck rein and not really doing a lot with my body because I’m focusing on the reining aspect of this steering off the reins. There’s a question in my mind. It’s not quite as big when I say, do I trust this horse? I think people’s minds go to like, do I trust that I’m not going to be hurt during this ride or something really big with trust. But it’s almost, it’s a–it’s a much, much smaller version of it. It’s like I’m asking her to turn. Do I trust that she’s going to turn in the next two steps? Do I believe she’s going to turn in the next two steps? And what am I going to do if she doesn’t turn in the next two steps? And how much leeway should I give her and when should that correction come? That’s the wobble of trust that’s going on in my mind that I’m aware of in Gabby’s mind. What I am aware that she is experiencing is that as I ask her to neck rein, and as I ask her to turn as I rub and I move that hand, she’s experiencing something different. Similar, but different. So it’s like I’m rephrasing the question in a slightly different way. And she’s slightly vague on whether or not she’s got the answer right or not. And she doesn’t want to make a mistake, not because she’s scared of the correction or the reshaping. I’m going to go ahead and use the word correction because some people are negatively, like, charged with the idea. But I totally believe that I can help correct and guide my horse without scaring my horse. But having said that, Gabby wants to be a responsible citizen, but she’s just not sure. So that wobble in there is, in my mind, a natural piece of this training process where this is how we learn to trust each other. And it’s not because I’m perfect and it’s not because she’s perfect. It’s because when we start to ride on that looser rein there are wobbles in the clarity of the communication, even for me right now, Reese. So when I think about it just a little bit more, it’s been fascinating because I’ve been teaching this online coaching class where it’s Advance at Home and people are like basically they’re–they’re getting instruction from me. But this lady is in California and she’s learning how to neck rein and do neck reining really well. And it was interesting in one of our sessions, I was talking to her about her video that she submitted and she was kind of saying that it felt a little bit wobbly. But that wasn’t her words and I–and that’s when I gave her the words that I just gave you. Like check with yourself and see because it looks really good on the video. The video looks really good. But isn’t it interesting that it feels wobbly? And that’s the same thing I was just expressing to you with me and Gabby is that a lot of times when you turn that loose, that’s where having a video of yourself riding while you’re doing it can be really helpful because you can really analyze it a lot after the fact. And then you don’t have to keep rewriting it and guessing and doubting, you can just ride it one time on the video and then you can watch it and ask all those questions and look for the answers without having to put the horse through it over and over again or yourself through over and over again. And it’s just more efficient and effective to watch it on video. So just know this: There is a wobbly feeling when you’re learning at the stage you’re at, Reese, where it feels really, really like that’s bordering on that consciously incompetent to consciously competent. But it’s fascinating to think that when you change the horse/rider dynamic, you get some version of that again.

Stacy Westfall: Now, I’m going to go to the rider’s body more specifically for just a minute, because I think it’s very, very, very present in this question. So I’ve got several things that I do. One, I’m going to throw a couple–a couple at you and then unpack a really big one. So one thing that I have had people do when they come to clinics and I’ve done it and I do it a lot like at home–It’s funny, I have one of those, it’s a Weaver Leather equine activity ball and it’s the blue one. So if you Google it and if I remember, I’ll put links in the show notes and it’s this blue ball. And for me this actually matters the height, what height you are. And so you might have to get a different ball. But basically, here’s the version of it. I sit on this activity ball and balance, so you need one that’s big enough that when you sit on it, your feet aren’t flat on the floor. So when I blow this ball up, I can sit on it and I’m kind of at tippy toes before I rock myself back to where I’m sitting up on it fully. And when I’m sitting upon it fully, my feet can dangle and not touch the ground. You know, if you want to do this in a safe place, just sit next to a wall or a fence panel or for me, that would be the kitchen counter. Sit somewhere where you can have one hand on the counter or something and learn how to balance on this ball. A beautiful combination of things I’ve talked about is get yourself sore doing the YouTube video or riding and then sit on the ball and learn to balance. And what you’ll feel is you’ll have all that muscle awareness from like, let’s say I go out on a trail ride for an hour and I’m a little bit sore. When I come back and I sit on the ball, I’m going to notice all those muscles. But then it’s really interesting, sitting and balancing on an exercise ball in this kind of way is fascinating to me, because what it makes me notice is that I might have an overemphasis on my lower body and I might be missing the emphasis on my upper body, because when you sit on the ball and you try to balance, suddenly you’re much more aware of your chest, your shoulders, your arms and that kind of stuff because you’re doing a balancing exercise. That is one that I love when I’m not riding. And then another really great one is rein-handling techniques. Like, get a set of reins. I’m in love with the reins that, you know, I make with Weaver Leather. I can put links in there, but the reason I say this is because they feel real soft and pliable and that matters when you’re sitting at home doing this because there’s not a horse on the end of the line. You’re going to have your–the reins kind of attached to a chair or you can have it on the bridle and the bridle is laying on the ground. But learn how to walk up and down the reins, learn how to manipulate and hold the reins. You can sit and watch Netflix and learn how to have your hands individually walk up and down the reins. And that can be a two-handed kind of a position, the same exact thing your riding instructor showing you. And you can also do it like in a neck reining position, because I remember the first time that I did this, I was in college and the instructors were like, you guys all need to go home and actually practice this just when you’re sitting on the couch. Not quite sure if the instructor meant it or whether they were just frustrated with us that day. But I did it because I really wanted to figure it out. And it works because you just have to get really comfortable with moving your rein, your hands up and down those reins. And then what’s funny is you’ll start to develop this like–you can become a rein, connoisseur. Like I remember growing up, I had a pair of the nylon reins that had like a double stitched nylon thing. And those are totally inflexible. They’re actually really hard to walk your hands up and down. Because you don’t know it, like, I didn’t know it when I was back then. I didn’t know that that stiffer rein was actually harder to manipulate in your fingers. And now I know I want a really soft rein, that’s–that’s pliable, I should say, because it’s–it’s so much easier for your fingers to walk up and down because it has a little bit of give in it. And so that’s just another thought that you can do when you’re at home and you don’t have the horse.

Stacy Westfall: So a big one when I’m teaching people is that I really like doing lunge line lessons and lunge line lessons have been an all-time favorite of mine for many, many years. I taught my kids pretty advanced lunge line lessons before I let them go free on the horse. To me that meant walk, trot, canter. That meant transitions from one gait to the other. This is with them holding their arms out to the side. This is with me doing–have–I’m having the horse because I’m the one on the ground doing the lunging. I’m having the horse do transitions from walk to trot, trot to canter, canter to trot, trot to walk while they are holding their arms out, while they are reaching back and touching the horse’s butt, while they’re reaching forward and touching up near the horse’s poll, while they are moving–moving themselves around, I’m also having the horse do different things. Not all at once on the first day, but I just want to save time and tell you that it builds up to that. It also built up to me having the horses do inside turns. So imagine that you’re riding the horse, your arms are–somebody’s lunging you, you’re holding your arms straight out to the side, and somebody is having the horse do an inside turn at a trot. I’m telling you, you will figure out how to balance without getting into the horse’s mouth. So that will help develop that independent seat. That’s actually pretty advanced. Do not start with the inside turns, especially if when you lunge the horse, you see the person lunging the horse and their inside turn looks like a high, fast rollback. Don’t get on there and put yourself up for that right away. But this is these are some of the ideas of things to work forward–work on and work forward to. Another really great one is the lunge line lessons while riding the horse over poles. So just one pole. It’s amazing when a horse trots over a pole how big, bumpy that can feel. Because it will–the horse will probably, unless they’re already in a pretty engaged trot, they’ll probably have to lift themselves up a little bit more. And those could be some of the things that are triggering you. And it’s really interesting to think that you could learn all of that on a lunge line where you had no reins that were, you know, causing any kind of confusion and the person lunging the horse was very responsible. So if you are a person out there that gives riding lessons, I would highly encourage you to do sessions with your people on the lunge line. Now, when I was doing this a lot, I did it with an egg and spoon, and when I got tired of the egg on the spoon, I started using a golf ball and a spoon. But a golf ball on a spoon is really hard because it’s–it’s–just try it walking around the kitchen. It’s very hard. So then I actually ended up coming up with this tool and you can buy them online, Weaver Leather, I designed them with Weaver Leather. Just put in Stacy Westfall or Weaver Leather Egg and Spoon and you’ll find it. And it is this inexpensive little…It looks like a toy. I am telling you, if you give lessons or you want a lunge line lesson, this will be the best money you have spent to develop an independent seat. And you can do this walking around, jogging around. You will figure out how to to do this bounce without bouncing and you can bounce with the egg and spoon while you’re sitting on the ball in the living room. Yes, this is what my children grew up with me doing. They were watching me do this. But the beautiful thing about this one is the ball is tethered on like it’s got a little elastic so that when it falls off, you can pick it up and put it back on, which comes in really handy if you’re the person giving the lunge line lesson. Because back in the day when I was giving the lunge line lessons, the horse I was using figured out that when the golf ball fell on the ground that it should stop so we could pick it up, and the horse would stop before the golf ball got back by the horse’s, you know, butt/hip area. Because the horse figured out, OK, and we’re going to stop and they’re going to pick it up and we’re going to do it again. Much faster if the horse is trotting along, the ball bounces off, the rider reaches up, puts that ball back onto that spoon because it’s really only dangling four inches below the ball, puts it back on, and you just keep on going and then you don’t train your horse through this weird stopping thing all the time. Much smoother progression.

Stacy Westfall: Now, in prepping for this, I wanted to pull a couple of facts up because I knew that the Spanish riding school did a lot of lunge line lessons and I wanted to tell you about it. And I found the coolest article. And I’m going to link to the article over on my website so you can read the full article. But I want to pull a few things out of it and mention it here, because they’re just such golden nuggets. First of all, you mentioned coming in and you mentioned your age and inexperience starting now. This is so fascinating. Listen to–the Spanish riding school has this: “Riding is not a prerequisite. It can actually be a hindrance if the applicant can already ride and has acquired the posture that does not suit the Spanish riding school and can only be altered with difficulty.” So that really spoke to me because that has been the short, condensed version of me learning some of the dressage things. Because I can do a lot of stuff with my horses, but to do it in the posture and frame that they want me in has been difficult to alter. So maybe this is an advantage that you don’t have the muscle memory in different ways. And can you hear how that will creep into your mind if you think that could be a positive instead of a negative? Now back to the article: “An apprentice at the Spanish riding school spends his first three years getting lunge lessons. For the average apprentice, his initial six months is spent exclusively on the lunge. And after that, he receives regular riding lessons. In addition to his daily lunge work, some remain riding only on the lunge for an even longer amount of time, depending on their individual development.” Isn’t that amazing? Now, keep in mind that their lunge lessons are 30 minutes because that’s the length that they believe is the optimal amount of time to make daily progress without completely fatiguing the rider.” So keep that in mind. Now, it says also, “New riders begin with stirrups, but no reins until they have mastered the rising trot and developed strength in their legs. Then after two or three months of this, they spend two years without stirrups or reins on the lunge. When the student becomes more experienced and the teacher can see that the student has more independence in their seat, we take away the stirrups, too.” So, I love this. You’ve got to read this article. OK, one last thing from the article is–it says, “From his clinics in the United States, Hausberger has observed that many American riders do not seem to understand how they need to acquire strength to achieve suppleness in the saddle. They can be too afraid of becoming stiff so they don’t work on getting stronger on horseback, he says. But without strength and fitness, there is no looseness in the classical position. You become more supple when you become fitter, he explains.” I love this article because this is so totally speaking to your question, Recce. Now, it’s this is one last thought. The final stages of the of the first three years when these people are on the lunge, in the final stages, while they’re still on the lunge, the–the riders perform half pirouettes, counter canter, flying changes of lead, piaffe, and passage. This is amazing to read, because I think sometimes when people think about getting put back on the lunge line, they look at it like it is moving down, like they’re doing less. And it is such a beautiful illustration of no, this can be more. Because I think one of the things that I know for sure when I was teaching people lunge line lessons, and I’m absolutely positive it’s happening when I read this article, and it’s subtle, but it’s so big. Listen to this idea: If I put you on a lunge line and you totally believe I have control over the horse, this is not your friend. Put you on the lunge line and the horse looks wildly out of control when you watch it lunge. So then you think I’ll just get on and ride it, even though it look wildly out of control. Maybe it will go better. No, erase that from your mind. Imagine you come here. Or you go to the Spanish riding school, let’s imagine that. Let’s imagine we all go to the Spanish riding school and we watch them lunge their horses. If you haven’t seen that YouTube when they lunge their horses these are amazingly well-trained horses. So if I ask you to get on this amazingly well-trained horse on the lunge line, this is a horse that is very in balance itself. This is a horse that knows how to frame and carry and has built his own strength to do this. And when you get on him and you start doing this, you have the freedom because his body is strong and consistent and you have the freedom because you trust the instructor that is controlling the horse. So now your mind is free to focus on your body only. The reason I think this is such an important thing to realize is that when we go back and look at the rider’s mind inside of your question. One of the final thoughts I have for you is that when you are asking the horse, let’s just say with your seat, let’s say you’re riding and you ask the horse to do something with your seat. What is the aid, what cue will you use to reinforce it if the horse doesn’t do it? So in a way, look at it like this: horses are similar to young children. If you ask a young child to do something like clean their room and they’d rather play, you can ask but if you don’t have a way to reinforce or be more clear, maybe they will, maybe they won’t. So when you ask the horse with your seat and the horse doesn’t do it, maybe they need more clarity, maybe they need something that reinforces. What is the thing you’re going to do to reinforce? Because if I have you come over and you ride Willow and you get on and I’ve done this with people who come here and I tell you the cue and you do the cue and I see you do the cue. And let’s say that your cue is anywhere between 60 to 80 percent correct, not perfect. We’re not looking for perfect here. When you do that cue and you’re in that percentage range, I’m just going to grab 70 out of there, so you’re 70 percent clear, I can see you do the cue. Maybe Willow doesn’t respond because she’s a little bit confused, because there’s a whole bunch of other stuff like who’s this new rider? Maybe Willow is testing, like if you’ve ever been around really seasoned lesson horses. One of my favorite things about a really seasoned lesson horse is that one of the strengths on this beautiful, what I consider to be a really good school mastery kind of one is that they’re not quite pushbutton. They’re almost pushbutton, but they have a little bit of like, yeah.. I don’t know if you really want that. I actually like my lesson horses when they’re–there’s that little bit of what I’m going to call testing. And it’s basically just questioning because here’s where it goes dangerous. If I put you on a horse that when you move the rein, three inches, you automatically go into a plus one spin, that is not a good lesson horse for–for a lot of people. Because three inches of moving your hand isn’t much, and a plus one spin is really hard to sit. So what you want is for the lesson horse, you want the rider that moves their hand three inches and the horse does some response but not jumping into a plus one spin. So somewhere in between there can become this horse that’s got this beautiful testing. So a great reining horse that would be a good lesson horse is one where you move the hands in they’re like, I’m kind of starting slow and they have to feel your whole body match. They have to feel the energy in your leg, the energy in your seat. They have to feel that the turn of your shoulder, they have to feel your whole body match up. And when they feel that whole body match up, they give you more. But they kind of accidentally have this built in governor, which I’m just going to politely label “testing.”

Stacy Westfall: The big takeaway is it’s not that you have to be perfect, but you do have to realize that there is this question that goes on if I put you on Willow. So the way that I look at it is like this. Maybe Willow is testing you a little bit or maybe she’s confused. Maybe you’re not cueing her perfectly, or maybe you’re holding your breath because you’re riding my horse and you’re a little bit scared. One thing’s for sure, you and Willow do not have the same relationship that I do with Willow. Now, if that’s true, every time a horse and rider switches, then here is another thing to consider. If you get on a horse, even a horse that I can do things with well, if you get on and you cue moderately well and it doesn’t happen, what are you going to do? So, for example, if you’re riding your lesson horse and you are trotting and you give the horse the cue to stop? And you use your seat to do that and the horse doesn’t stop. You two are developing a relationship and your own system. What are you going to do if the horse doesn’t stop off your seat? The way you answer this question matters. Not in the right or wrong of do you use this aide or that aide or whatever. It’s the fact that you as the rider need to know what aide reinforces your request. A piece of the question I think I hear is you at the trot make a request. And you’re doubting whether or not you make the request clearly. I’m saying that when you make the request, a lot of your confidence will come from understanding what you’re going to do to reinforce if the horse doesn’t follow the request. That is where a lot of the magic happens. And that, to me, is where there’s a lot of flexibility, whether you’re correcting with the same aide that you used at a different level or whether you’re correcting with a different aide. Yes, I’m avoiding giving you the answers here, because I want you guys to think about what situation are you feeling yourself give a subtle cue, a request to the horse, and when you feel the lack of confidence that you didn’t make the request or the cue quite good enough, that happens at stages of riding a horse. The thing that matters is what you do to then correct it, because that’s what then helps inform the horse what your aides will be with that horse. That’s what I’m doing when I’m out there trotting the four leaf clover pattern with Gabby on the loose rein. That’s where the wobble is coming from in that stage of training because the wobble is coming from, when and how will I correct? And the wobble in her is coming from, when and how and how does this work? And those are the questions that are in your body that you need answers to. And so have that discussion with your instructor. I’m cueing. Do you want me to cue harder? And if I cue harder and it doesn’t work, you kind of need to have a plan for where you’re starting from with that cue, the request, all the way up to how you make it happen. Those are the phrases that I use. I’m like, how are we going to make it happen? But it’s a shaping thing. It’s not a cruelty thing. How…with Gabby, I’m going to request with the rein, I’m going to request with the rein. I’m going to exhale and be like, good job when she did it right. I’m going to request with the rein, I’m going to request the rein, and then I’m going to slide my hand down the rein, and I’m going to request more clearly and I’m going to close my leg and I’m going to turn my body and I’m going to hug, stear, shape, turn, guide, make her go this direction in some ways that she already knew from the previous training. And none of it’s going to be scary. But when I turn her loose, all the questions are going to be there until I do this a few hundred more times and then they’ll be a little less wobbly. I hope that helps you guys get a lot of ideas. Thank you so much for leaving your questions. And thanks again for listening. I’ll talk to you in the next episode.

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Links mentioned in podcast:

Here is a link to the episode that discusses the four stages of competency: unconsciously incompetent, consciously incompetent, consciously competent, unconsciously competence.

Great article on Spanish riding school longe lessons:

The Ball Stacy sits on:
Weaver Leather Equine Activity Ball

Stacy’s Favorite Reins:
Stacy’s favorite reins: I use the more narrow 1/2 inch but many prefer the slightly wider 5/8th

Stacy’s Egg & Spoon:
Stacy’s Egg & Spoon from Weaver Leather: Less than $20.00 and it will teach you to have an independent seat!

1 Comment

  1. Alison Hamm on March 24, 2021 at 9:21 pm

    STacy, this was a wonderful question and answer. Especially at the end when you wrapped it all up. The whole process takes time. And, its just not clear cut, but then again it is!!!! The process becomes clearer as it goes along. The rider needs to be willing to take the time it takes to start to learn the manuvers in their own bodies and to be consistent every time. Loved the Spanish School of Riding addition. That helps to bring the time frame into focus. We’re such an instant gratification society of people. Thank you for your wonderful insights and helpful teaching. Alison.

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