Horses are strong but highly sensitive animals. If a horse does not want to do something, there is no chance a rider will convince one to do it with the use of strength.
The key to riding is feeling!
Many younger riders come up to me and say they cannot ride their horse because it is too strong for them. And I always tell them it is no matter of strength, it is a matter of way!
Find the way to communicate with your horse! Try different ways until you find the command they understand. No one said it was going to be easy, and every new horse will be the same process all over again. But, once you get the connection, miracles can happen!
Riding with feeling is a hard thing to achieve for a young rider, but it is worth working on. Working on developing an independent seat is important for horse riders to keep a better balance on the horse and being able to ride without depending on the reins too much.
Exercises such as jumping without reins can help the rider understand that as long as their weight is kept in the legs their position and balance is maintained much easier.
The bucket game can also help riders understand how soft they should be with a horse’s mouth. Standing on a bucket and trying to keep your balance while pulling the reins from someone who is simultaneously standing on a bucket can be a great challenge and a great lesson for every rider.
At the end of the day, imagine you had a piece of metal in your own mouth. You would probably want it handled with care and feeling.
Listen to your horses carefully and try to communicate with them in the language they understand best. Ride your horses with feeling and they will try and jump a house for you, trust me!
What is it that has helped you enhance your feeling? Share your experience with us!