Riding horses can be one of the most frustrating and yet rewarding sports. Riding requires hours and hours of commitment, hard work, perseverance, and sometimes even blood, sweat and tears. There are times, even when we are giving 110% of all of these things, that we seem to be getting little in return. But then there is that one moment when it all seems to come together. In this perfect, harmonious moment when your contact is perfect, your leg is in the proper spot, your seat is quiet and you have the undivided attention of your equine partner. Sometimes this moment is just that; a moment. It may only last for two or three strides before we lose it again and this can be extremely frustrating. Developing feel is a crucial learning curve of riding, regardless of discipline, but is a learning curve that can take years (literally, years!). What makes this so difficult is that is one of those things that cannot be taught, but must be learned through experience and doing. This experience can become even more difficult to achieve if you happen to be riding a green or uneducated horse. Some horses are naturally athletic and find it very easy to work into contact, be collected etc. Others that are not so athletic, or have simply not been as well schooled, can have a much harder time with this especially if they missed out on the essentials in their younger years (not their fault!!).
During this time of learning and development for both rider and horse it is okay to ask for help. Many times as riders and horse owners we let our pride overtake our ability to recognize when it’s okay to ask for help. However, quite often seeking the help of a more experienced professional can provide exceptional benefits including a great educational experience for you horse. This can make the moments of frustration less and the moments of quality work and schooling greater!!
This time of training for your horse can mean a time of good training and schooling for you as a rider too! If you are lucky enough to have access to multiple horses this is the perfect opportunity to ride them all! Seriously, all of them. There is something to learn on every horse from the school horses to the dressage pros to the eventing schoolmasters. This is such a great opportunity to help yourself develop feel and aids on horses that know their job inside out with their eyes closed while your horse is learning these skills. Then you will hopefully be able to transfer these skills back to your horse and become a force to be reckoned with!! Plus, your trainer will certainly appreciate the work that you put in even though you are not riding your horse J
All riders go through various learning curves in their career from minor to major, but persevering and putting the work and commitment in is what gets you through the learning curve and makes you a better, stronger and smarter rider!