The last post talked about backing up in training and getting it right before going on. That applies to riding horses as well as driving horses. Sometimes you need to back up, get off the horse, ground drive or long line them and 'fix' them before you get on and try it again.
Which is what I will be doing with Aruba. I have been riding her (not as much as I would like to) but the last few rides we were having issues going to the right. Serious issues. And they were all me. All of it.
Going to the left I was fine, she was fine, we were good. I was relaxed, she was too, my hands were soft and following, she was bent to the left and we trotted big sweepy, effortless circles. I even posted some which made me able to last a bit longer. Then we turned to the right. Walking was sorta fine, but I was beginning to tense up. I had my hand on the first tab on the reins, but that wasn't enough release for her. Our circles were anything but big let alone 'sweepy' and trotting only lasted a few strides at best. I leaned forward, essentially putting all my weight on her front end and forcing her to do the same. Any wonder the poor mare was confused?
It was put to me to put the reins in my left hand, on the buckle. Put my hand out over her withers and even her neck if I had to. Sit. up. straight! Which all translated to me as "Ride her like a damned western horse and neck rein if you have to... "
What happened next? I wasn't completely relaxed, but the mare was. She was soft and not so much bent to the inside, but we trotted. Big. sweepy. circles. And for "riding her like a western horse" yeah, those girls post sometimes too, and so did I. I sat up straight, my mare was balanced and life was once again GOOD!
So I ordered up a new surcingle from Valley Vet. It came in today! I gotta say, for the money- it is really NICE! It is also quite soft and well built. I love that it has nice BIG rings on it and no metal eyelets on the billets. I will be ground driving my mare this weekend to fix the things I have started to unravel by riding her. I also think she would make an elegant driving horse. Time will tell on that though... If she goes that route- talk about horsepower! She has it.